DUBAI: As the protests and unrest against the killing of Mahsa Amini entered their third week, Iran said it had arrested nine European nationals for their role in the unrest.

Meanwhile, as protesters rallied in major cities, Iran fired missiles and flew drones to attack targets in neighbouring northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.

The detention of citizens of Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and other countries is likely to ratchet up tensions between Iran and Western countries over the death of Mahsa Amini.

The nine unidentified people were detained “during the riots or while plotting in the background,” the Intelligence Ministry said in a statement carried by Iranian media.

19, including IRGC members, killed in Zahedan

Meanwhile, the protests sparked by Amini’s death have spiralled into the biggest show of opposition to Iran’s clerical authorities since 2019, with dozens of people killed in unrest across the country.

In Iran, social media posts showed rallies in large cities including Tehran, Isfahan, Rasht and Shiraz.

In Tehran’s traditional business district of Bazaar, anti-government protesters chanted “We will be killed one by one if we don’t unite”, while elsewhere in the capital they blocked a main road with a fence torn from the central reservation, videos shared by the widely followed Tavsir1500 Twitter account showed.

Attack in Zahedan

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards said four members of its forces and the volunteer Basij militia were killed in attacks in Zahedan, capital of the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province.

State television had said 19 people, including members of the security forces, had been killed in Zahedan after unidentified armed individuals opened fire on a police station, prompting security forces to return fire.

Strikes in Kurdistan

The strikes in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region this week after accusing Iranian Kurdish dissidents of being involved in the unrest.

The Kurdish rights group Hengaw said a strike was observed in 20 northwestern cities and towns on Saturday in protest against the attacks by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

It also said security forces had fired at protesters in Dehgolan and Saqez, Amini’s hometown.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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