Iran's Guards chief warns protesters: 'Today is last day of riots'

© Vahid Salemi, AP

The head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards warned protesters that Saturday would be their last day of taking to the streets, in a sign that security forces may intensify their fierce crackdown on unrest sweeping the country.

Iran has been gripped by protests since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police last month, posing one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.

"Do not come to the streets! Today is the last day of the riots," Guards commander Hossein Salami said in some of the toughest language used in the crisis, which Iran's clerical leadership blames on its foreign enemies including Israel and the United States.

"This sinister plan, is a plan hatched ... in the White House and the Zionist regime," Salami said.

Iranians have defied such warnings throughout the popular revolt in which women have played a prominent role. There were more reports of fresh bloodshed on Saturday.

Several students were injured, one of them shot in the head, Hengaw said.

Reuters could not verify this report.

The widely feared Revolutionary Guards, who report directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have not been deployed since demonstrations began last month. They are an elite force with a track record of crushing dissent.

Read more on FRANCE24

Read also:
Defiant Iranians protest violent crackdown and killings of youths
Iran withholding bodies of slain protesters from families, says UN rights office
'People of Iran need Europe', former Iranian TV host Ehsan Karami says