Two attacks leave ten dead, but no signs as to who is behind them
"Armed terrorists" are blamed for attacks in Khuzestan and Isfahan; a woman, two children and police officers are among the dead. On the eve of the World Cup, the coach of the Iranian team says people are free to protest. Despite government pressure, he called up a player who expressed support for protesters.
Tehran (AsiaNews) – More blood is being shed in Iran as street protests enter their third month over the killing of Mahsa Amin, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died after she was detained by Iran’s morality police in mid-September.
At least 10 people, including a woman and two children, along with a police officer, were killed yesterday in two separate attacks carried out by unknown assailants in Khuzestan and Isfahan, hospital sources told the media.
In Izeh, in the south-western province of Khuzestan, "armed terrorists" on two motorcycles opened fire in a market where protesters and police were gathered, killing five and wounding 10.
"Two more wounded died this morning at dawn, bringing the overall toll to seven dead and eight wounded,” sources at the Jondi-Chapour hospital in Ahvaz said.
The dead include a 45-year-old woman and two children aged 9 and 13.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the authorities "to act promptly to identify the perpetrators of the attack and hand them over to the justice system for punishment”.
However, four hours later, two attackers, also on a motorcycle, opened fire with automatic weapons against security officers in Isfahan, central Iran, killing one police officer and two members of the Basij paramilitary unit, wounding another seven.
The latest incidents follow an attack on 26 October, claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, at a famous shrine in Shiraz, southern Iran, that left at least 13 people dead.
Meanwhile, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar (20 November-18 December), the coach of Iran’s national team, Carlos Queiroz, said that people should be free to protest.
Doubts about Iran’s participation in the sporting event had emerged recently, with suggestions that the team might be excluded because of the violent repression of pro-Amini protests.
“Everybody has the right to express themselves,” Queiroz said at a press conference yesterday. “You guys are used to bending your knees in the games and some people agree, some people don’t agree with that, and in Iran it’s exactly the same.”
Freedom of conscience seems to apply to Iran’s team as well. One of Iran’s star players, Sardar Azmoun, who plays for Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), posted on social media multiple times his support for the women-led protests.
According to some press reports, Queiroz, who is Portuguese, received pressure from the Iranian Ministry of Sports not to pick Azmoun.