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Iran arrests about 30 following Behbahan protests

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Iran has arrested about 30 people following the anti-government protests that broke out in the southwestern city of Behbahan on Thursday, the Iranian Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA) said on Friday.

Protests broke out in Behbahan in the oil-rich Khuzestan province on Thursday with demonstrators demanding the overthrow of the regime, according to videos shared on social media.

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Protesters attacked Iran’s clerical rulers, chanting “we don’t want a clerical regime” and “clerics must get lost.”

Authorities arrested about 30 people in Behbahan on Thursday evening and Friday morning, Iranian rights group HRANA said.

One of the detainees was Farzaneh Ansarifar, whose brother Farzad Ansarifar was one of the protesters killed in Behbahan during the November 2019 protests, according to HRANA.

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Anti-government protests broke out across Iran in November 2019 after the government introduced gasoline rationing and price hikes. Thousands were arrested and about 1,500 Iranians were killed by security forces, according to a Reuters report.

The latest protests follow and are motivated by a viral Twitter campaign Iranians had launched on Tuesday against the Iranian judiciary’s decision to uphold the death sentences of three protesters who were arrested and sentenced to death following the protests last November.

Iran promised on Friday to deal “decisively” with any further protests.

The police urged people in a statement on Friday to “vigilantly refrain from any gathering that could provide a pretext for the counter-revolutionary movement”, accusing “enemies” of whipping up discontent.