IRAN: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, said that Basij militia forces had sacrificed their lives in “riots,” the wave of demonstrations triggered by the death in detention of a young Iranian Kurdish lady in September.
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the protests that erupted when Mahsa Amini, 22, passed away on September 16 while being detained by Iran’s morality police have grown to be one of the most brazen challenges to the clerical hierarchy.
The legitimacy of the Islamic Republic has been challenged by protesters from all backgrounds who have set Khamenei’s portrait on fire and called for the Islamic Republic’s overthrow.
The Basij forces, which are a part of the nation’s elite Revolutionary Guards, have taken the lead in the government crackdown on the protests in recent weeks.
In a televised speech, Khamenei said, “They have given their lives to protect people from rioters… the existence of Basij indicates that the Islamic Revolution is alive.”
The Iranian clerical establishment has blamed the turmoil on Iran’s foreign opponents, particularly the United States and its agents.
Videos posted to social media on Saturday showed fresh protests occurring at a number of institutions in the capital Tehran as well as the central city of Isfahan.
140 Iranian eye doctors have issued a statement warning that paintball and birdshot pellets used by security forces are blinding several protesters in one or both eyes, according to posts on social media and the reformist news website Sobhema.
Amnesty International claims that Iran’s security forces have been using excessive force, including live fire and birdshot, which has led to a number of fatalities. The authorities of Iran have blamed several shootings on unspecified dissidents.
According to the activist news outlet, 63 kids were among the 448 protesters who had been slain as of Friday. Per the report, 57 members of the security forces were also murdered, and 18,170 individuals were reportedly detained.
Although a top official on Thursday stated 50 police officers had perished in the unrest, the number of protesters killed has not been made public by the authorities.
Officials claim that hundreds of protesters have been charged for their involvement in the unrest and that Iran’s strict court has sentenced at least six of them to death.
Following accusations made by numerous Iranian soccer fans on social media that the national team backed the brutal government crackdown on the protesters, Khamenei commended the squad for its victory in its World Cup match against Wales on Friday.
“Yesterday, Team Melli (the National Team) made our people happy. May God make them happy,” said Khamenei.