Iran protesters set fire to Khamenei billboard as security crackdown intensifies

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Protesters in the Iranian city of Isfahan set fire to a large billboard of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Monday, Iran International reported, as security forces use live ammunition to disperse protesters in the city of Shiraz.

Markets were closed amid a general strike and tighter security in central Isfahan, it added.

The TV channel reported that 30 people were arrested by security forces in Shiraz, citing a security official. They quoted a protester in Shiraz as saying: "The security forces are firing live bullets against the demonstrators who are burning all the banks in the Afif-Abad area, and the security forces are chasing the demonstrators with sticks and using tear gas."

Al Arabiya sources have also said that security forces are firing gunshots in the air to disperse protesters.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference in Tehran that the situation was "calmer" but there were still "some minor issues and tomorrow and the day after we won't have any issues with regard to riots."

At least 40 people have been reportedly killed in Iran since anti-protests erupted across the country on Friday, according to a report by opposition website Radio Farda which cites human rights organizations and videos on social media.

While the Iranian authorities have only confirmed the death of three people so far, multiple reports are suggesting that the death toll is at least 13 times higher than the official claim.

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