Iran Protests: At Least One Demonstrator Said Killed by Security Forces

As CNN has been unable to confirm the number of dead reported on social media, Fars News posts video of man claiming to be the 'dead' protester saying 'death to America, death to Israel, long live Khamenei'

Screen capture from Twitter video of protests in Iran shows motorcycled man armed with a rifle
Twitter

At least one protester was killed Saturday at a demonstration in the Iranian city of Khorramshahr, Iranian protesters reported on social media. The demonstrators were protesting the lack of clean water in the city, which has also affected the neighboring city of Abadan.

Iranian media outlets have not reported casualties, and CNN has been unable to confirm the number of dead. According to the Al Arabiya network, four people had been killed.

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Fars News, widely considered the "semi-official" media outlet of the Iranian government, posted a video Sunday of a man claiming to be a protester who was reportedly killed in the protests by security forces. 

"Hi, I'm Mohammed Anazar, there were rumores I was killed yesterday in Khorramshahr - No," says the man in the video, adding "Death to America, death to Israel, long live Khamenei."

The Iranian news agency, IRNA, confirmed violent clashes between protesters and security forces. The agency said police fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, who responded by throwing stones and damaging public property. Videos posted on social media show protesters attacking police vehicles and gunshots can be heard in the background.

Protests have reportedly been going on in the city for the past few days. According to the Persian-language BBC, eye-witnesses reported sounds of gunfire at the Matahari Junction in Khorramshahr. The network posted a video showing the protests with gunfire rattling in the background and people running in the streets.

The Persian daily Kayhan London reported that 12 people had been injured and an unknown number of people arrested, but said it could not confirm the figures.

Protests broke out in Iran late last year, spreading to 75 cities and town. During the protests, which persisted from the end of December to early January, 25 people were killed and 5,000 were arrested. Protests were renewed last week in Tehran against the economic crisis and the falling value of Iranian currency that is sparking price hikes. No injuries or deaths were reported in these demonstrations.

Last week, General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards who is also a senior advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader, said It is the duty of all Iranians to help the government overcome economic problems.

"It is all of our duty to work together to help the respected government and other governmental branches in solving the economic problems," he said, according to the Fars news agency. 

"We must neutralize the plans of the enemy for an economic war and psychological operations," Rahim Safavi insisted. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the Iranian people regarding last weeks' protests.

"To the Iranian people I say: You showed courage on the playing field and today you showed the same courage in the streets of Iran," Netanyahu said posing with a soccer ball in a video posted on his Facebook page.