Violent clashes rock Iranian universities as protests continue


Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Iranian students clashed with security forces at universities across Iran on Sunday, Iranian media reported, as videos showed security forces firing tear gas and live ammunition at students.

Sunday’s violence came as nationwide protests swept the country despite threats from the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. The chief of the guard had warned young Iranians that Saturday would be the final day of protests first sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16 in the custody of the country’s vice squad.

Clashes escalated at Azad University in Tehran, where Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported that some groups attacked a protest staged during a memorial ceremony for the victims of a deadly attack on a major Shia holy site in southern Iran . Several students were injured in the clashes, Tasnim reported, without going into detail.

Videos on social media allegedly showed security forces firing tear gas at students who were shouting at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. University campuses have become the main hotbeds of the opposition and play a central role in the protest movement.

A video posted by the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights showed a member of the Basij, the Guard’s volunteer paramilitary force, firing a pistol at protesting students at point-blank range.

The human rights group said it strongly condemned “the incursion of armed civilian troops into the university campus and the crackdown on peaceful student protests.”

Hardline, pro-government students at several universities across the country had gathered to commemorate a deadly attack on a mosque in Shiraz on Wednesday that killed 13 people, including women and children. The ceremonies also drew crowds of anti-government protesters, including at Azad University.

“Freedom, freedom, freedom!” they chanted.

The Iranian government has repeatedly claimed that foreign powers orchestrated the protests without providing any evidence. The protests have become one of the most serious threats to Iran’s ruling clergy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The protests initially focused on the state-mandated hijab, or headscarf, for women, but quickly evolved into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s theocracy itself Iran killed at least 270 people and arrested 14,000.

Since October 24, the country’s authorities have begun hearing the cases of at least 900 protesters charged with “corruption on earth” – a term often used to describe attempts to overthrow the Iranian government who faces the death penalty.


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