Two members of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were killed in the northwestern province of Kurdistan overnight, activists say, amid a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.
According to the Norway-based Human Rights Organization, unidentified armed men killed one IRGC member in the city of Marivan.
The Kurdish human rights organization Hengaw said another member of the force was killed by an unidentified armed group in Saqqez.
Earlier, the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) reported the deaths of at least 56 members of Iran’s security forces since the start of nationwide demonstrations more than two months ago.
Iran has been gripped by protests demanding more freedoms and women's rights since the September 16 death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police.
Security forces have cracked down hard on the protests, which have been at their most intense in the western areas where the majority of the country’s Kurds live. At least 416 people have been killed nationwide, including 51 children and 27 women, according to one human rights group. Thousands of people have also been arrested. At least six have so far been sentenced to death.
On November 23, the United States imposed sanctions against three Iranian security officials over their role in the authorities' "particularly severe security response" to protests in the Kurdish areas.
According to HRANA, 31 members of Iran’s paramilitary Basij force were killed during protests over the past two months. The IRGC recorded 13 deaths, police 10 and the Intelligence Ministry one, it said. At least 11 colonels were said to be among those killed.
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said in an interview on Indian television that around 50 security forces were killed during protests and hundreds more were injured.