Two dead following anti-regime protests in Iran

Two dead following anti-regime protests in Iran
The deaths reported on Saturday occurred after a protest earlier in the week turned violent in the southwest city of Kazeroon.
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Iran's opposition throwing stones at police [Getty]
Two people were killed and 48 injured during a violent protest in southwest Iran on Wednesday, according to a new report from the semi-official ISNA.

Saturday's report quotes Chief Justice of Fars Province Ali Alghasimehr as saying many of the injured in Kazeroon were police. 

The report did not say how the fatalities or injuries occurred.

Until Wednesday, the city had been the scene of peaceful protests against a local government decision to divide some districts of the city and merge them into a new town. Anti-regime protesters gathered in response to a call on social media in the city, some 560 miles south of Tehran. They also set fire to a police station.

According to videos posted on social media, chants could be heard saying, "The regime supports Gaza but they betray us [in Kazeroon]". Demonstrators were reportedly heard calling for Iran to cease its military activities in the Middle East. 

Kazeroon has a population of close to 150,000 people, is the home to the Qashqai tribe, some of whom traditionally carry hunting guns.

In late December and early January, protests against the country's stalled economy took place across Iran. 

Some of these demonstrations later directly challenged the government with authorities launching a wide-ranging crackdown in response. 

An estimated 3,700 anti-regime protesters were arrested, nearly 10 per cent of the 42,000 who are believed to have taken to the streets during the demonstrations.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tried to dismiss the unrest as a US-Israeli conspiracy to overthrow the Tehran government.

He accused the US and "the Zionists" of spending months preparing demonstrations in small towns in the hope that they would spread to the capital.

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