Protests

Gunmen kill Iranian militia commander as internal tension builds

Salaam Times and AFP

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A photo posted on social media showing Iranian protestors facing security forces in Tehran earlier in January. [File]

TEHRAN -- Unrest continues to build inside Iran after a commander of Iran's Basij militia was shot dead by unidentified assailants in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, state news agency IRNA reported.

Abdolhossein Mojadami was killed by "two motorcyclists armed with a Kalashnikov and shotgun" outside his home on January 22 in Darkhovin, about 70 kms south of provincial capital Ahvaz, the Fars news agency said.

Fars, which is close to ultraconservatives, said Mojadami was a member of the Basij, a militia loyal to the Iranian establishment.

It published a picture of him in a uniform of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with the rank of captain.

It said there was no claim of responsibility for the "terrorist act" that killed him.

Khuzestan was one of the main centres of violent protests that swept across about 100 cities and towns in mid-November in response to fuel price hikes.

The London-based rights group Amnesty International said more than 300 people were killed in a crackdown on the unrest, including about 40 in Khuzestan.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also confirmed the Iranian regime's use of brutal force against unarmed protesters.

Members of the Basij militia and the IRGC were involved in shooting protesters, the OHCHR said.

At least 13 women and 12 children were among those killed.

Unrest grows

Anti-government protests in Iran swelled again earlier this month after the IRGC admitted to shooting down a Ukrainian passenger airliner.

That admission, and knowledge that the IRGC and top Iranian officials lied about the event in an attempted cover-up, set in motion renewed public outrage and unprecedented protests throughout the country.

Faced with an increasingly disaffected population and a tailspinning economy, Iranian leaders are scrambling to maintain control while at the same time posturing to appear tough against the West.

While the latest demonstrations were sparked by Iran's downing of the airliner and the perceived incompetence of Iranian leaders to manage the incident, there is an undercurrent of rage directed at Iran's persistent economic woes.

These economic troubles and the internal unrest caused by them may be tempering the Iranian regime's willingness to confront the West in the latest showdown.

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May God make them fight against each other like crazy dogs. Iran and Pakistan caused destruction to our country and killed our people.

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