IRGC Head Warns Protesters To End Demonstrations As UN Urges Iran To Respect Human Rights

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

The commander of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hossein Salami, warned protesters that October 29 would be their last day of taking to the streets.

"Do not come to the streets! Today is the last day of the riots," Salami was quoted as saying by state media.

Iran has been gripped by protests triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s morality police.

Since Amini’s death on September 16, thousands have been demonstrating across the country against the clerical establishment.

Protests were reported on October 29 at several universities across the country where students chanted, “Death to the dictator,” and, “Woman, life, freedom.”

Iran has blamed its foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest.

The U.S.-based Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) posted videos on Twitter showing protests at several universities. One of the protests showed people holding hands in a large circle and chanting: "If we don't unite, we will be killed one by one."

HRANA said 272 protesters had been killed in the unrest as of October 28, including 39 minors. Some 34 members of the security force have also been killed and nearly 14,000 people have been arrested, it said.

The Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights also posted a video of a protest at a university campus and said that in the city of Arak state security forces fired tear gas as mourners gathered for the funeral of Mehrshad Shahidinejad, a young aspiring chef who reportedly was killed after being arrested during a protest.

The IRGC warning on October 29 came as the United Nations expressed "increasing concern" about reports of deaths in the antiestablishment protests in Iran.

"We condemn all incidents that have resulted in death or serious injury to protesters and reiterate that security forces must avoid all unnecessary or disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York on October 28.

“Those responsible must be held to account,” he said, adding that the UN was urging Tehran “to address the legitimate grievances of the population, including with respect to women’s rights.”

The United Nations urged the Iranian government in Tehran to respect human rights, noting that the crisis can and should be brought under control through dialogue.

In a separate statement, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also expressed concern about "rising fatalities and injuries" to protesters in Iran.

"It’s essential that unfettered access to health care is provided to those in need, [including] the appropriate use of medical vehicles, facilities & the ability of health workers to help patients," WHO chief Tedros said on Twitter on October 28.

Protesters clashed again with security forces on October 28 in Zahedan, a city in southeastern Iran were dozens of people were killed in clashes four weeks ago during anti-government protests.

Activists posted videos on social media showing protesters in the city calling for the death of "dictator" Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and against the Basij militia, which has played a major role in a crackdown on the demonstrations.

The United States and Albania will hold an informal UN Security Council gathering on November 3 that will focus on the protests in Iran, according to a note outlining the event seen by Reuters. Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Iranian-born actress and activist Nazanin Boniadi are set to address the gathering.

"The meeting will highlight the ongoing repression of women and girls and members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Iran," the note said. "It will identify opportunities to promote credible, independent investigations into the Iranian government's human rights violations and abuses."

Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, is also due to address the meeting, which can be attended by other UN member states and rights groups.

"The meeting will underscore ongoing unlawful use of force against protesters and the Iranian regime's pursuit of human rights defenders and dissidents abroad to abduct or assassinate them in contravention of international law," read the note about the planned meeting.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa