Students tell Iran’s president to ‘get lost’ as unrest rages

DUBAI (Reuters) – Videos on social media showed female students in Tehran chanting “Tah” as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited their university campus on Saturday, condemning angry protesters for the death of a young woman in custody.

Addressing my chief professors and students at Tehran’s Al-Zahra University, he recited a poem that equaled “rioters” with flies, as nationwide protests entered their fourth week.

“They imagine that they can achieve their evil aims in universities,” state television reported. “Unbeknownst to them, our students and professors are vigilant and will not allow the enemy to achieve their evil aims.”

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A video posted on Twitter by activist website 1500tasvir showed what it said were female students chanting “My president is lost” and “Mullahs have gone astray” while the president was visiting their campus. Another video on social media showed the students chanting: “We don’t want a rotten guest,” referring to Raisi.

Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the clips.

Today, Friday, official media said that a report by an Iranian forensic doctor denied the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini due to blows to the head and limbs while she was being held by the morality police, and linked her death to pre-existing medical conditions.

Amini, an Iranian Kurd, was arrested in Tehran on 13 September for wearing “indecent clothes,” and died three days later.

Her death sparked nationwide protests, presenting the biggest challenge to Iran’s religious leaders in years.

Women have removed their headscarves in defiance of the clerical establishment as angry crowds called for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The government has described the protests as a plot by Iran’s enemies, including the United States, and accused armed opponents – among others – of perpetrating violence that killed at least 20 members of the security forces.

Rights groups say more than 185 people have been killed, hundreds wounded, and security forces arrested in the face of the protests.

After a call for mass demonstrations on Saturday, security forces shot protesters and used tear gas in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj and Saqez, according to the Iranian human rights organization Hengao.

And in Sanandaj, the capital of the Kurdistan region in northwestern Kurdistan, a man was killed in his car while a woman shouted “rude,” according to Hengao, who said he was shot by security forces after he blew his horn as a sign of protest.

But a senior police officer reiterated the security forces’ claim that they did not use live bullets and that the man was killed by “counter-revolutionaries” (armed defectors), the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

A video clip circulating on social media showed a young woman lying unconscious after she was apparently shot in the northeastern city of Mashhad. Protesters gathered around to help.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights Organization said on its website that at least 185 people, including 19 children, were killed in the protests. It added that the largest number of deaths occurred in the restive province of Sistan-Baluchestan, where half of the deaths were recorded.

State television showed footage of Ayatollah Khamenei during the evening’s main evening newscast, with broadcasts halted briefly in an apparent hack with his picture surrounded by flames, next to the slogan “Rise up and join us” and the web addresses of hacking group Edalate Ali. Read more

Last year, the group hacked security cameras and revealed the mistreatment of prisoners in a prison that holds mostly political prisoners.

A call for unity

After a weekly meeting, President Raisi, the chief justice and the speaker of Iran’s parliament called for unity.

In a statement carried by state media, they said that Iranian society currently needs the unity of all its classes, regardless of language, religion and ethnicity, to overcome the hostility and division spread by anti-Iranians.

A video clip on social media showed protesters marching in the northern city of Babol, and several publications said that security forces surrounded students who were demonstrating on a university campus.

Hingao also broadcast a video of emergency personnel trying to revive a person, and said that one protester died after being shot in the stomach by security forces in Sanandaj. Reuters was unable to verify the video.

Hengau reported that a school in Sags Town Square was filled with girls chanting “Woman, life, freedom.”

The widely followed 1500tasvir Twitter account also reported the shooting of protesters in the two Kurdish cities in the northwest of the country.

A university student who was on his way to join the protests in Tehran said he did not fear arrest or even death.

“They can kill and arrest us but we will not be silent anymore. Our classmates are in prison. How can we remain silent?” The student, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

State media downplayed the protests across Tehran, citing “limited” demonstrations in dozens of areas. One said that many of the bazaar’s merchants had closed their stores for fear of damage from the unrest, and denied that there had been a strike.

Internet watchdog NetBlocks said the Internet was again cut off in Sindaj amid protests in Kurdish areas.

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Reporting from the Dubai Newsroom. Written by Michael Georgi Editing by Russell and Nick McPhee

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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