Angry protests have continued across Iran for an eighteenth day and have again been met by lethal force resulting in the death of many protestors and bystanders, including children.
A source in Zahedan told IranWire that the Shirabad district has become a battlefield where repressive forces are present with full combat equipment. Human rights groups say at least 9 children there have been killed by the military, including a two-year-old child.
In Tabriz, protests have continued, despite the arrest of 300 students on Saturday alone. A contact in the city confirmed the widespread presence of Basij forces in university dormitories. Internet in the dorms has been disconnected.
Students in dozens of universities supported the people by holding rallies. In several cities of Iran, including Tabriz, Shiraz, Sanandaj and Ghaleh Hassan Khan, schoolgirls held a protest march in the alleys and streets around their schools after school hours and chanted the slogans of "Woman, Life, Freedom" and "Death to the Dictator."
Zahedan drowned in blood
A reliable source who spoke to IranWire from the city of Zahedan, in the south-eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, said that popular protests continued throughout Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
He confirmed the use of military weapons, drones and helicopters by Iran's military and security forces. He said: "Shirabad Zahedan is a battlefield. They’re not letting people gather and chant slogans. They shoot at anyone they see."
He said that dozens of people, including three children between the ages of 12 and 16, had been shot and killed by security forces. According to this informed source, one of those was 16-year-old Samer Hashemzahi, who was shot in front of his house in the Shirabad district.
Human rights groups in Baluchistan have spoken out against the killing of protesters. In an interview with IranWire on Monday, the secretary-general of the Baluchistan Solidarity Party, Habibollah Sarbazi, confirmed that protests were continuing in Zahedan and said: "Our reports and communications show that until last night [Sunday] the military operations against the protesters had continued."
Sarbazi also noted the rising death toll in Zahedan and said: "The names of many of the dead were not recorded; many wounded people are dying from their injuries, and the number is constantly increasing."
According to the latest reports, the number of dead in the last few days in Baluchistan was at least 80. Halvashnews agency, which publishes the news of human rights violations in Baluchistan, has reported the death of a two-year-old child with the surname Mirshekar on the evening of Sunday, October 2. According to the report, the child was killed by military forces in front of the family house in Jam-e Jam Boulevard, Zahedan. Halvash reports that the number of children killed in the protests of the last few days, including this two-year-old child, is nine.
On Friday, Iran's security forces attacked Sunni worshippers from the tower of the city's mosque. They had been calling for the police chief accused of raping a 15-year-old Baluch girl to stand trial. Initial reports indicate that at least 58 citizens were killed and 270 people were injured here and at another rally in front of police station #16.
It was reported on Friday that the IRGC’s intelligence commander in Sistan and Baluchistan, Ali Mousavi, was among the security forces who had died in the clashes.
Hossein Salami, the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, threatened in a message: "We consider revenge for the blood of the martyrs of the IRGC and Basij and the people who were victims of the Black Friday crime in Zahedan to be on our agenda."
The media in Baluchistan have announced the arrival of Molavi Abdolhamid, the Sunni Friday imam of Zahedan, to calm tensions. According to these reports, Abdolhamid has asked "the families of the martyrs, the injured and the heads of Baluch tribes to hold a consultative meeting to decide and follow up on the killing of people on the Bloody Friday in Zahedan."
More than 300 Tabriz University students arrested
IranWire was finally able on Tuesday to reach a source at Tabriz University to learn about the protests there and the violent response of the authorities. It has been all but impossible to get details of events because of the almost total cutting of communications links.
The eyewitness told IranWire that protests on Saturday had been met with an extreme response from the security forces.
"A very, very large number of special forces were outside Tabriz University on Saturday. The university was completely surrounded and the university security closed the university doors, but the students managed to break the door and go out onto the streets."
"Special unit forces forced the students back inside the university and entered the campus themselves. The intensity of repression was very strong and they used everything they had for this purpose, from batons and arrests to shooting with shotguns. Many students were arrested that day and many were injured."
"They broke the hands and feet of the students with a baton. Many of them did not dare to go to the hospital for fear of arrest; they are using traditional methods for treatment at home."
He explained: "The internet has been down all these days in the university and in the dormitories. At night, the Basij forces came to the dormitory to identify the students. The atmosphere of Tabriz University is overshadowed by the presence of security forces."
This person pointed to the disappearance of some of his friends and said: "Several of my friends' phones are switched off and we have no news about them. No one knows the exact number of arrested students, but some say that 300 students have been arrested so far."
The street is ours
Elsewhere, videos published online since Tuesday show that protests have continued in Tehran, Isfahan, Divandareh, Marivan, Saqqez, and Bandar Abbas.
In Tehran, videos released from Tajrish Square in the north of Tehran, show street protests going on until midnight.
Farmers gathered in the streets of Isfahan on Tuesday morning and chanted slogans against President Ebrahim Raisi.
On Tuesday, for the second day in a row, the schools of some Iranian cities were the scene of protests by female students.
In Tabriz, an eyewitness told IranWire that the students at a girls' high school in Vali-e Asr neighborhood of this city were waving their scarves in the air while leaving the school chanting the slogan "Woman, Life, Freedom."
In another video widely shared on social media, high school girls tear out the pictures of Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini, the two supreme leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, from their textbooks and set them on fire.
Also, in a video published by the students of a girls' high school in Shiraz, they chant "Death to the Dictator" and "If we don't stand together, we will be killed alone."
International support for the Iranian people
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted their support for the freedom of women and the people of Iran. Biden wrote that "the United States stands by Iranian women and citizens whose courage inspires the world."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the Islamic Republic as a "bloodthirsty" regime in a press conference on Tuesday and said: "This unacceptable pattern of gross and systematic violation of human rights and brutal killings must end."
On Monday, Trudeau announced new Canadian sanctions against 34 Iranian individuals and institutions related to the repression of the Iranian people, including the morality police.
The European Parliament is also considering proposals from member states for new human rights sanctions against the Iranian authorities. In a speech to parliament on Tuesday, the French Foreign Minister announced the possibility of imposing sanctions against officials of the Islamic Republic whose children live in Western countries. Many analysts feel it likely that the EU will agree to impose new human rights sanctions against the Islamic Republic at a meeting of EU foreign ministers to be held in mid-October.