IRGC member, Basij militiaman killed in southern Iran: Report

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A member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and a Basij militiaman were killed early Friday while chasing individuals spray-painting slogans during protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, state media reported.

They “were martyred while on duty” in the southern province of Fars, state news agency IRNA said.

Their deaths bring to at least 20 the number of security personnel killed in the wave of unrest that has swept Iran since Amini died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

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Six more have been killed in violence in southeastern Iran where demonstrations erupted on September 30 over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander.

“Around 5:00 am (0130 GMT) on Friday, in the city of Beyrom, two people on a motorcycle, who were writing slogans, became the target of a chase by two officers,” Fars judiciary chief Kazem Mousavi told IRNA.

The two officers were killed by “shots to the head and chest” from the motorcyclists, Mousavi added.

Iranian officials have blamed the unrest on the country’s foreign enemies, particularly the United States.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said late Thursday that some protesters were “trained abroad and financed from outside the country.”

He played down the scale of the protests.

“On the busiest day of the recent gatherings, 45,000 people participated in the rallies,” out of a population of more than 83 million, IRNA quoted Vahidi as saying.

“In the universities, at the peak of gatherings, 18,000 people... took part in the rallies, out of a student population of 3.2 million.”

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