Female students in Tehran chanted “get lost,” according to activists, as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited their university campus on Saturday and condemned protesters enraged by the death of a young woman in custody.
As nationwide demonstrations that have rocked Iran entered a fourth week, Raisi addressed professors and students at al-Zahra University in Tehran, reciting a poem that equated “rioters” with flies.
“They imagine they can achieve their evil goals in universities,” state TV reported. “Unbeknownst to them, our students and professors are alert and will not allow the enemy to realize their evil goals.”
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A video posted on Twitter by the activist 1500tasvir website showed what it said were women students chanting “Raisi get lost” and “Mullahs get lost” as the president visited their campus.
An Iranian state coroner’s report denied that Mahsa Amini had died due to blows to the head and limbs while in morality police custody and linked her death to pre-existing medical conditions, state media said on Friday.
The death of 22-year-old Amini, an Iranian Kurd, has ignited nationwide demonstrations, marking the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders in years.
Women have removed their veils in defiance of the clerical establishment while furious crowds called for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
After a call for mass demonstrations on Saturday, security forces shot at protesters and used tear gas in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj and Saqez, according to the Iranian human rights group Hengaw.
In Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan Province in northwest Iran, one man lay dead in his car while a woman screamed “shameless,” according to Hengaw.
One of the schools in Saqez city’s square was filled with school girls chanting “woman, life, freedom,” it reported.
Amini was arrested in Tehran on September 13 for “inappropriate attire,” and died three days later.
Rights groups say more than 150 people have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands arrested by security forces confronting protests.
Hengaw said on Saturday that Iranian security forces had launched crackdowns in two Kurdish cities.
“Security forces are shooting at the protesters in Sanandaj and Saqez,” the group said. It said riot police were also using tear gas.
The widely followed Tavsir1500 Twitter account also reported shootings at protesters in the two northwestern Kurdish cities.
A university student who was on his way to join protests in Tehran said he was not afraid of being arrested or even killed.
“They can kill us, arrest us but we will not remain silent anymore. Our classmates are in jail. How can we remain silent,” the student, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.
Widespread strikes are taking place in the cities of Saqez, Diwandareh, Mahabad and Sanandaj, said Hengaw.
The government has described the protests as a plot by Iran’s enemies including the United States, accusing armed dissidents - among others - of violence in which at least 20 members of the security forces have been reported killed.
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