DUBAI (Reuters) – Protesters chanted slogans denouncing Iran’s supreme leader in the rebel southeast on Friday. Meanwhile, human rights groups said at least 100 protesters detained faced possible death sentences.
Since mid-September, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman died in custody after being arrested for “improperly dressed” under Iran’s strict Islamic dress code for women. Demonstrations are taking place across the country against clergy leaders.
“Death to the dictator, Death to Khamenei!” protesters said in a social media video said to be from Zahedan, capital of Sistan-Baltistan province, referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Reuters was unable to verify the footage.
The impoverished province is home to up to two million Iranian Baruch minorities, who have faced discrimination and oppression for decades, according to human rights groups.
Some of the worst unrest in recent months have been in areas such as Sistan-Baltistan and Kurdish regions, home to ethnic minorities and religious groups that have long held grievances against the state.
Protests by demonstrators from all walks of life calling for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling theocracy have been one of the biggest challenges for the Shia-dominated Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution.
The government blames the unrest on demonstrators who say they are intent on destroying public property and are trained and armed by the country’s enemies, including the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Separately, a human rights group said at least 100 protesters detained in Iran could face the death penalty.
“At least 100 protesters are currently at risk of execution, death or sentence, which is minimal as most families are under pressure to remain silent and The actual number is believed to be much higher,” the group said on its website.
Iranian courts have so far convicted protesters of killing or injuring security forces, destroying public property, and inflicting terror on the public, before committing them based on Islamic law charges such as “war against God.” He handed down more than a dozen death sentences.
Reported by Dubai Newsroom.Edited by Hugh Lawson
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