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Iran Acknowledges Deaths among Protesters

Iran Acknowledges Deaths among Protesters

Sunday, 31 December, 2017 - 08:45
People protest in Tehran on December 30, 2017. (Reuters)

Iranian authorities acknowledged on Sunday that some protesters were killed during the demonstrations that had been raging in the country since Thursday.

The two protesters were killed in the western city of Dorud.

“Violent clashes broke out in the illegal demonstration in Dorud on Saturday and unfortunately two people were killed,” Habibollah Khojastehpour, the deputy governor of Lorestan province, said in an interview on state television on Sunday.

They were targeted by foreign agents and not the police, he said.

“No shots were fired by the police and security forces. We have found evidence of enemies of the revolution, Takfiri groups and foreign agents in this clash,” he added.

Witnesses said that three people were killed by gunshots fired by the security forces when they attempted to storm the Dorud governorate headquarters. A number of other protesters were injured in the Lorestan shooting.

Iran warned on Sunday that protesters will "pay the price" after a third night of unrest saw mass demonstrations across the country in which two people were killed and dozens arrested.

Videos on social media overnight showed demonstrations in Isfahan, Mashhad and many smaller cities but travel restrictions and limited coverage by official media made it difficult to confirm reports.

Semi-official conservative outlets confirmed an evening attack on a town hall in Tehran and showed protesters attacking banks and municipal buildings in other parts of the country.

"Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behavior and pay the price," Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli said on state television early on Sunday.

"The spreading of violence, fear and terror will definitely be confronted," he added.

In one of the few official reports, an official in Arak, around 300 kilometers (190 miles) southwest of Tehran, said 80 people had been arrested overnight.

"Some intended to enter and damage some government places but the attackers did not manage to achieve their goals... and the town is under control," the unidentified official told the ILNA news agency.

Internet was temporarily cut on mobile phones on Saturday night but was restored not long after.

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