As Iran protests swell, IRGC chief warns demonstrators: ‘Don’t come to the streets’

‘Today is the last day of the riots,’ Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Salami declares, as demonstrations spread to universities across Islamic Republic

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami addresses during the funeral ceremony for five members of the Guard killed in Syria, in Tehran, Iran, August 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami addresses during the funeral ceremony for five members of the Guard killed in Syria, in Tehran, Iran, August 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Saturday issued a new warning to Iranians joining in the protests that have roiled the country since last month.

The unrest — sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police — has rocked the Islamic Republic for over a month.

Amini died after being detained for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code for women.

At the funeral for victims of a shooting in Shiraz, the chief of the Revolutionary Guard, General Hossein Salami, called on Iranians to stop protesting. His threat came as the Guard and other security forces have violently cracked down on demonstrations with live ammunition, anti-riot pellets and tear gas.

“Do not come to the streets! Today is the last day of the riots,” Salami said on Saturday.

“We are telling our youth, the minority of you who have been deceived, stop the evil acts.”

He said in the same harsh tone: “This ominous sedition will bring no happy ending to you. Do not ruin your future!”

“This sinister plan, is a plan hatched… in the White House and the Zionist regime,” Salami added, according to Reuters.

In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, Iranians protests the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police last month, in Tehran, October 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

The Iranian government has repeatedly alleged that foreign powers have orchestrated the protests, without providing evidence.

The protests have become one of the most serious threats to Iran’s ruling clerics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The gunman who killed 15 people at a major Shiite holy site in southern Iran earlier this week has died, Iranian media said on Saturday.

Iranian authorities have not disclosed details about the assailant, who died in a hospital in the southern city of Shiraz from injuries sustained during his arrest, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

Wednesday’s attack on Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran’s second-holiest Shiite shrine, was claimed by the militant Islamic State group.

Iran’s government has sought to blame the attack on the largely peaceful protests engulfing the country, without offering evidence.

Workers clean up the scene following an armed attack at the Shah Cheragh mausoleum in the Iranian city of Shiraz, in which 15 people were killed, on October 26, 2022. (ISNA NEWS AGENCY/AFP)

The protests first focused on the state-mandated hijab, or headscarf, for women but quickly grew into calls for the downfall of Iran’s theocracy itself.

At least 270 people have been killed and 14,000 have been arrested in the protests that have swept over 125 Iranian cities, according to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran.

Students protested Saturday, the start of the working week in Iran, at campuses in Tehran, Kerman in southern Iran, and the western city of Kermanshah, among others, online videos show.

“Shameless, shameless,” students shouted as they clashed with security personnel at a university in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, in footage published by the 1500tasvir social media channel.

On Friday, Iranian security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the southeastern city of Zahedan, killing two people, according to activists.

Zahedan, in Iran’s long-restive Sistan and Baluchestan province, has seen the deadliest violence in protests so far. Activists estimate that in Zahedan alone, nearly 100 people have been killed since a September 30 rally set off a violent police response.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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