Iran: Several killed in separate incidents on day marred by violence
By Syed Zafar Mahdi
TEHRAN, Iran (AA): Two people were shot dead Wednesday in Iran’s central city of Isfahan, hours after five people were killed in an armed attack in the country’s southwest.
The latest incident took place around 9.00 pm local time (1730GMT) in the Khane Esfahan area of the city when two motorcycle riders armed with assault rifles opened fire at security forces, according to local reports.
The two slain men were both paramilitary voluntary Basij personnel, identified as 54-year-old Mohsen Hamidi and 30-year-old Mohammad Hossein Karimi.
At least eight others were also injured in the attack, seven of them law enforcement personnel and one paramilitary Basiji.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi extended condolences to the families of the victims and asked the security agencies to “immediately identify the perpetrators and leaders of the terrorist incident and hand them over to the judicial system,” his office said.
Meanwhile, according to Iran’s state broadcaster, quoting local officials, at least three people were also killed in Semirom, another city in Isfahan province, on Wednesday during fierce clashes. Many others were also injured.
In another similar incident Wednesday evening, at least five people were killed and 15 others injured after motorcycle-borne armed men opened fire at a busy market in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
Among the dead were an elderly woman and a child. At least two others are said to be in critical condition.
A religious seminary was also set ablaze by unknown men in the main market of the city.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks.
It comes amide sweeping protests triggered by the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Iran’s morality police in mid-September.
This week, a call had been given by anti-government protesters for a three-day shutdown across the country, which notably received a lukewarm response.
So far, Iran’s judiciary has sentenced five people to death for their involvement in the months-long protests and fatal attacks on security forces.
One of the protesters was sentenced for “attacking police officers”, in which a policeman was killed and several others were injured, Mizan News Agency, affiliated with the judiciary, said in a report.
He was accused of committing “corruption on earth”.
Another protester was accused of “drawing a cold weapon” and wounding a security guard, as well as “creating terror and insecurity for citizens”, it added.
He was sentenced on charges of moharebeh (waging war against God).
Another protester, who allegedly “attempted to close the street, prevent the movement of vehicles and cause terror”, and “damaged public property”, was also sentenced to death.
On Tuesday evening, a protester was sentenced to death for engaging in “street warfare” amid sweeping protests, the country’s judiciary said in a statement.
The death penalties came after Iran’s judiciary on Sunday issued the first death sentence against a protester in connection with the anti-government protests in the country.
The defendant was accused of “setting fire to a government building” and “disturbing public order and peace, assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security, war and corruption in the land”.
Five other defendants were given sentences ranging between 5 and 10 years on charges of “assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security and disruption of public order and peace”, the judiciary said.
The verdicts are preliminary and can be challenged in the appeals court.
The claim that 15,000 people have been sentenced to death over protests was shared by many world leaders and activists, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who later deleted the tweet.
The US and European Union have in recent weeks imposed a slew of sanctions on Iranian officials and entities over what they call a “brutal crackdown on protests”.
On Monday, EU foreign ministers approved a fresh package of sanctions against Iran, targeting 29 individuals and 3 entities for their role in the death of Amini.
“The EU strongly condemns the unacceptable violent crackdown of protesters. We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and voice their demands and views freely,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani, for his part, decried the sanctions, terming the action “illegal and interventionist”.
[Photo: : People on a street in Tehran, Iran, on November 16, 2022. Photojournalist :Fatemeh Bahrami/]
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