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At least 2 killed in Iran as security forces intensify crackdown over protests


By Adam Pourahmadi, Idris Muktar Ibrahim, Jomana Karadsheh and Pierre Meilhan, CNN

Iran’s security forces shot at protesters and used tear gas in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj and Saqez in fresh protests on Saturday afternoon, as weeks of nationwide demonstrations gathered momentum.

In Sanandaj, security forces shot and killed a driver in his car, while in one of the schools in Saqqez, two teachers were injured, according to the Iranian human rights group Hengaw.

Another protester was shot in the abdomen by IRGC security forces and died, Hengaw said.

“Students in the schools in Sanandaj and Saqqez started the protests. Then government forces started an attack on one of the schools in Saqqez,” Azhin Sheikhi, from Hengaw told CNN on Saturday.

Widespread strikes are taking place in Saqez, Diwandareh, Mahabad, and Sanandaj, said Hengaw.

The Norway-registered Hengaw human rights organization has been monitoring human rights violations in Iran’s Kurdish region, where the protests began three weeks ago, following the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, while in custody of the morality police. Saqez is also her hometown.

Meanwhile, protests also continued in other locations across the country on Saturday including Tehran, Karaj, Esfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, Mashhad, Tabriz and Rasht.

Speaking at Alzahra University, an all-girls institution in Tehran, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi commented on the latest riots across the country.

“The enemy thought that they could follow their desires inside the university, unaware that our students and professors were awake and would not allow the enemy’s false dreams to come true,” Raisi said according to a statement issued by his office.

Social media video showed protests at the same university with women chanting “Death to the oppressor, whether it be the Shah or the Supreme Leader.”

It was unclear if the protest took place while the president was at the university.

Video provided to US-funded Radio Farda also showed riot police beating up a young woman in Tehran.

Total death toll figures since protests kicked off vary from government, opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists.

An Iran-focused human rights group based in Norway, IranHR, tallied the number of deaths since the protests started across Iran at 154. Human Rights Watch said as of September 31, Iranian state affiliated media placed the number of deaths at 60.

CNN cannot independently verify the death toll — a precise figure is impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm — and different estimates have been given by opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists.

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