2 Jan 2018

Iran protests: 22 reported killed

9:15 pm on 2 January 2018

Nine more people have been killed overnight as clashes between protesters and security forces continue in Iran for a sixth day, state media report.

Men pull at a fence in a street in Tehran on Saturday, in a video released by Iran's Mehr News agency.

Men pull at a fence in a street in Tehran on Saturday, in a video released by Iran's Mehr News agency. Photo: AFP PHOTO / HO / MEHR NEWS

The latest violence, in the central Isfahan region, brought the number of reported deaths to at least 22.

Six protesters died in what was described as an apparent attempt to seize guns from a police station.

Elsewhere, a boy aged 11 and a man were reported killed in clashes along with a member of the Revolutionary Guards.

The protests in cities across Iran are the largest since the disputed 2009 presidential election.

They began last Thursday in the city of Mashhad, initially against price rises and corruption, but have since spread amid wider anti-government sentiment.

Hundreds of people have been arrested.

President Hassan Rouhani said protests were an "opportunity, not a threat", but vowed to crack down on "lawbreakers".

The US has stepped up support for the protesters' "bold resistance".

An image grab taken from a handout video released by Iran's Mehr News agency reportedly shows a group of men walking down a street in Tehran on Saturday.

An image grab taken from a handout video released by Iran's Mehr News agency reportedly shows a group of men walking down a street in Tehran on Saturday. Photo: AFP PHOTO / HO / MEHR NEWS

Mr Rouhani had previously said that citizens were free to protest, but not violently.

Mr Rouhani has acknowledged popular grievances, though he warned that the government would show "no tolerance for those who damage public properties, violate public order and create unrest in the society".

On Monday he said on Twitter that the government needed to pay attention to people's demands on livelihood issues and corruption.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) warned anti-government protesters would face the nation's "iron fist" if political unrest continued.

- BBC

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