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Fresh clashes at Iranian universities after weeks of unrest

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Students clashed at a memorial ceremony for the victims of a deadly attack at a major Shia holy site in southern Iran, the country’s semi-official media reported on Sunday.

Tasnim news agency reported that some groups attacked a gathering at a branch of Azad University in Tehran. Several students were injured, he added, citing witnesses saying some students had knives in their hands. Tasnim also said an unidentified person fired tear gas during the clash and then disappeared into the crowd. The report did not specify the number of people injured in the clash.

On Sunday, extremist students from several universities across the country gathered to commemorate a deadly attack by a gunman that killed 13 people, including women and children, at Shah Cheragh Mosque on Wednesday. Thirty people were injured.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Nationwide unrest – sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s vice police – has rocked the Islamic Republic for a month and a half. Amini died after being detained for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code for women.

The Iranian government has repeatedly claimed that foreign powers orchestrated the protests, without providing evidence. The protests have become one of the most serious threats to Iran’s ruling clerics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The protests initially focused on the state-imposed hijab, or headscarf, for women, but quickly turned into calls for the downfall of Iran’s theocracy itself. At least 270 people have been killed and 14,000 arrested in the protests that have swept over 125 Iranian cities, according to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran.

Since October 24, the country’s authorities have begun hearing the cases of at least 900 protesters charged with “corruption on land” – a term often used to describe attempts to overthrow the Iranian government that carries the death penalty. Judicial authorities have announced charges against hundreds of people in Tehran and other provinces as they seek to stifle dissent.


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