Iran protests

Protests persist in southeast Iran with chants against supreme leader

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Protesters gathered in southeast Iran on Friday, shouting slogans against the country’s supreme leader and calling for democracy and equality, videos circulating on social media showed.

Protesters in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, chanted “death to Khamenei” in reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, one video posted on Twitter showed, while another video showed protesters chanting “Khamenei, have some shame and leave the country.”

Another video showed women also participating in Friday’s protests.

Iran has seen nationwide protests since 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died in police custody on September 16.

The demonstrators have been demanding the overthrow of the regime, creating one of the most significant challenges to the Islamic Republic since it was founded in 1979.

Despite a brutal crackdown by security forces, Sistan-Baluchistan has witnessed protests on almost a weekly basis after Friday prayers since late September.

The Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Monday at least 481 people, including 64 children and 35 women, have been killed by security forces during the protests.

Among the 481 deaths, Sistan-Baluchistan had the highest number of fatalities, with 131 deaths.

The province is one of Iran’s poorest regions and is mostly populated by Sunni ethnic Baluchis, a minority in predominantly Shia Iran. Human rights groups say they have faced discrimination and repression for decades.

Iranian authorities view the protests as “riots” that are backed by foreign powers.

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