TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered further investigations into deadly violence in the country’s southeast, as well as compensation for victims, an official dispatched to the region said.
The unrest in Zahedan, the capital of impoverished Sistan-Baluchistan province which borders Pakistan, erupted on September 30 and authorities say six members of the security forces were among the dozens of dead.
The casualties came against the backdrop of nationwide unrest that followed the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.
A delegation from Khamenei visited the southeastern region over the weekend to express sadness and promise solutions, official media reported.
“The request of the supreme leader is to act on the basis of facts, the investigations supervised by the Supreme National Security Council,” the country’s top security body, Mohammad-Javad Haj Ali Akbari, the delegation’s spokesman, said late Sunday.
He was quoted by the state IRNA news agency.
— Emily Schrader – אמילי שריידר امیلی شریدر (@emilykschrader) November 12, 2022
In late October, the Sistan-Baluchistan security council said it had concluded an investigation that found “negligence” by officers and the deaths of “innocent” civilians during the unrest.
The council announced the dismissal of Zahedan’s police chief as well as the head of a police station, after the probe ordered by President Ebrahim Raisi.
During his visit, Akbari said Khamenei ordered that compensation be made for those killed or wounded.
Some local figures said the protests in Zahedan were triggered by anger over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police officer.
Overseas-based activists accused security forces of firing on demonstrators.
Today: Massive protests in Zahedan, Sistan & Baluchistan province. People chant: “death to Khamenei” and “Khamenei is a murderer; his rule is invalid.” The mass killings in this province have shaken the whole nation! #MahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی #IranRevoIution2022 pic.twitter.com/bCWim9W5Oo
— Omid Memarian (@Omid_M) November 11, 2022
Zahedan is one of the few Sunni-majority cities in predominantly Shiite Iran.
Akbari earlier said the delegation was there to “report on measures decided (by Khamenei) to resolve these problems,” according to IRNA.
Akbari also referred to a “special plan” from Khamenei to benefit the province’s people, but IRNA gave no further details on such measures.
The visit to Sistan-Baluchistan came ahead of a European Union decision on Monday to sanction a further 29 Iranian officials, including the interior minister, for the crackdown on protests over Amini’s death.