The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards warned protesters that Saturday would be their last day on the streets, a sign that security forces could step up their crackdown on unrest. sweeping across the country.
Iran has been hit by protests since the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in police custody last month, posing one of the boldest challenges to its leadership. clerics since the 1979 revolution.
“Don’t take to the streets! Today is the last day of riots,” Guards commander Hossein Salami said in some of the toughest language used during the crisis, which Iran’s clerical leadership blames to their foreign enemies, including Israel and the United States. .
“This sinister plan is one cherished … in the White House and the Zionist regime,” Salami said.
The much-feared Revolutionary Guards, who report directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have not been deployed since the protests began on September 16. They are a elite force with a record of suppressing dissent.
Human rights groups say at least 250 protesters have been killed and thousands arrested across Iran in protests, which have turned into a popular uprising by angry Iranians from all walks of life. society.
On Friday, video on social media showed protesters calling for the death of Khamenei and the Basij militia, which played a key role in the effort to defuse the protests.
The Intelligence Ministry and the intelligence branch of the Revolutionary Guards have accused spy agencies from the US, UK, Israel and Saudi Arabia of orchestrating the situation to destabilize the Islamic Republic.
Salami, who was speaking at the funeral of the victims of an attack claimed by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) this week, reiterated that message in a speech. directly with the protesters.
“Don’t sell your honor to America and don’t slap the security forces protecting you in the face,” he said.