19 Killed in Iran Attack 10/01 08:16
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- An attack by armed separatists on a
police station in a southeastern city killed 19 people, including four members
of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency
The assailants in Friday's attack hid among worshippers near a mosque in the
city of Zahedan and attacked the nearby police station, according to the report.
IRNA quoted Hossein Modaresi, the provincial governor, as saying 19 people
were killed. The outlet said 32 Guard members, including volunteer Basiji
forces, were also wounded in the clashes.
It was not immediately clear if the attack was related to nationwide
antigovernment protests gripping Iran after the death in police custody of a
young Iranian woman.
Sistan and Baluchestan province borders Afghanistan and Pakistan and has
seen previous attacks on security forces by ethnic Baluchi separatists,
although Saturday's Tasnim report did not identify a separatist group allegedly
involved in the attack.
IRNA on Saturday identified the dead as Hamidreza Hashemi, a Revolutionary
Guard colonel; Mohammad Amin Azarshokr, a Guard member; Mohamad Amin Arefi, a
Basiji, or volunteer force with the IRG; and Saeed Borhan Rigi, also a Basiji.
Tasnim and other state-linked Iranian news outlets reported Friday that the
head of the Guard's intelligence department, Seyyed Ali Mousavi, was shot
during the attack and later died.
It is not unusual for IRG members to be present at police bases around the
Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets over the last two weeks to
protest the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by
the morality police in the capital of Tehran for allegedly wearing her
mandatory Islamic headscarf too loosely.
The protesters have vented their anger over the treatment of women and wider
repression in the Islamic Republic. The nationwide demonstrations rapidly
escalated into calls for the overthrow of the clerical establishment that has
ruled Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution.
The protests have drawn supporters from various ethnic groups, including
Kurdish opposition movements in the northwest that operate along the border
with neighboring Iraq. Amini was an Iranian Kurd and the protests first erupted
in Kurdish areas.
Iranian state TV has reported that at least 41 protesters and police have
been killed since the demonstrations began Sept. 17. An Associated Press count
of official statements by authorities tallied at least 14 dead, with more than
1,500 demonstrators arrested.
Also on Friday, Iran said it had arrested nine foreigners linked to the
protests, which authorities have blamed on hostile foreign entities, without
It has been difficult to gauge the extent of the protests, particularly
outside of Tehran. Iranian media have only sporadically covered the
Witnesses said scattered protests involving dozens of demonstrators took
place Saturday around a university in downtown Tehran. Riot police dispersed
the protesters, who chanted "death to dictator." Some witnesses said police
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, meanwhile, reminded Iran's
armed forces of their duty to people's lives and rights, the foreign-based
opposition Telegram channel Kaleme reported.
Mousavi's Green Movement challenged Iran's disputed 2009 presidential
election in unrest at a level unseen since its 1979 Islamic Revolution before
being crushed by authorities.
"Obviously your capability that was awarded to you is for defending people,
not suppression people, defending oppressed, not serving powerful people and
oppressors," he said.