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As of today, the largest protests in Iran since 2009 have spread to 80 cities. Even despite the fact that the authorities have tightened the repression, as a result of which dozens of people have died, well-known activists and journalists have been arrested. Internet access, especially for instant messengers and social networks, is still blocked. In this regard, news from Iran arrives with many hours of delay.
Thousands of protesters dissatisfied with strict rules and economic devastation continue for several days in a row. The protesters demand an end to the rule of the Islamic Republic.
In many cities, security forces open fire on crowds. In particular, in Tehran, the security forces fired directly at the windows on Ferdous Boulevard, and in the city of Rasht they threw tear gas grenades right into apartments.
Western analysts agree that the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was only a catalyst for popular anger. Recall that a student died after being severely detained by the vice police due to the fact that she allegedly wore the hijab incorrectly. She was taken to the “re-education center for women”, where she probably lost consciousness after being beaten and was in a coma until her death.
Mass protests began on the day of her funeral, 22 September. It is assumed that the case of Amini was a kind of last straw, and thousands of young Iranians took to the streets in response to the repression. In addition, they complain about rampant corruption, failure in economic policy and the fight against COVID-19, as well as political persecution. The problems persisted under the current ultra-conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi, who came to power last year.
The day before, protesters seized the small Kurdish town of Oshnaviye in West Azerbaijan province. Iranian security forces abandoned it after several days of heavy fighting.
"Oshnaviye has been under people's control since yesterday evening. The liberation has far-reaching implications for other cities,” local official Hussein Yazdanpana told the NYT in an interview.
NNS Roj news site editor Ammar Gholi, who is an Iranian Kurd living in Germany, is in contact with Oshnawiye, home to 40,000 ethnic Kurds. According to him, residents have set up checkpoints at the entrance to the city.
Twitter has already been filled with a video of crowds of people chanting “Freedom!” along the streets of Oshnavie.
It is also reported that an army battalion and a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were deployed to the area to regain control of the captured city.
“We are waiting for blood to be shed. The situation is extremely tense,” Goli added.
The protests in Iran have gained such momentum that the official adviser to the US government Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Paul Massaro, joked on Twitter about whether the demonstrators could take over the plant for production of combat drones for Russia. It should be noted that the facts of their use in the war against Ukraine have already been confirmed, in connection with which Kyiv expelled the Iranian ambassador from the country.
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