Theran: Protests broke out in the unrest-hit Sistan-Baluchistan province after Friday prayers and Iranian security forces opened fire. Dozens were killed or injured.
Following the September 16 custodial death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish descent, Iran has stepped up its crackdown on the protests.
Activists called for nationwide demonstrations this week in solidarity with Kurdistan, which has borne the brunt of Iran's deadly crackdown on protests along Sistan-Baluchistan.
A video from Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan, one of Iran's few cities with a Sunni majority, shows protesters chanting "Kurdistan, Kurdistan, we will support you" on Friday.
In other unconfirmed footage uploaded to social media, he sang, "Kurds and Baloch are brothers, thirsting for the leader's blood," in reference to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Later, activists claimed that the city's protesters were shot by security forces. The London-based Baloch Activist Campaign posted on its Telegram channel that "dozens have been killed or injured." AFP has not confirmed the death toll.
In a video shared by BAC, a group of men can be seen carrying a man outside what is claimed to be Makki Mosque in Zahedan.
Protesters also took to the streets of the Sistan-Baluchistan cities of Iranshahr, Khash and Sarwan, according to BAC and 1500 Tasveer monitors.
According to the Oslo-based organization Iran Human Rights, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reportedly used military hardware such as heavy machine guns to suppress the population.
The Revolutionary Guards have increased their presence in the restive Kurdish areas.
Since Amini's death, which followed her arrest in Tehran for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women, Kurdish-populated provinces in western and northwestern Iran have become focal points of protests Huh.
The IHR reported on Tuesday that since the protests began, Iranian security forces had killed at least 416 people, including 51 children and 27 women.
At least 126 people were killed in Sistan-Baluchistan, and 48 in Kurdistan Province. More than 90 people were killed in a shootout in Zahedan on 30 September.
The UN Human Rights Council had just voted to launch a high-level probe into Iran's bloody crackdown when Friday's demonstrations broke out.
Iran condemned the action, calling it "useless and a violation of the country's national sovereignty". Prominent Baloch cleric Molvi Abdulhamid used his Friday prayers to demand an end to the suppression of protests by arrests and killings.
His website quoted him as saying, "The people's protest has shown that the policies of the last 43 years have reached a dead end."
Armored units and special forces of the Revolutionary Guards were moving towards the west and north-west border regions, which are home to the Kurdish minority, after earlier reinforcements were announced on Sunday.
A photograph of smiling Revolutionary Guard officers saluting a long line of soldiers was published by the Tasnim news agency.
Iran has alleged that Western countries are behind the unrest and that protesters in areas with ethnic minorities are working for separatist organizations.
In his sermon, Molawi Abdolhamid also condemned the alleged mistreatment of prisoners.
He appears to have been referring to reports of alleged rapes of women taken into custody when he said, "The media talks about mistreatment of women which are overwhelming and I can't stop myself from saying that." Can't bring it."
The UN Human Rights Council has urged the government to end the violence after Thursday's vote to launch an investigation into Iran's actions.