Protests in Iran entered a more violent phase on Sunday as students, who defied an ultimatum by the Revolutionary Guards and a warning from the president, were met with tear gas and gunfire from security forces, social media videos showed.
The confrontations at dozens of universities prompted the threat of a tougher crackdown in a seventh week of demonstrations sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by the morality police for attire deemed inappropriate.
“Security is the red line of the Islamic Republic, and we will not allow the enemy to implement in any way its plans to undermine this valuable national asset,” hardline President Ebrahim Raisi said, according to state media.
Iranians from all walks of life have taken to the streets since Amini’s death in protests that the clerical rulers said were endangering the Islamic Republic’s security.
Authorities have accused Islamic Iran’s arch-enemies the United States and Israel and their local agents of being behind the unrest to destabilise the country.