Iran denies shooting protesters

Iran denies reports that security forces shot and killed protesters during a demonstration in the city of Khorramshahr.

Tags: Protests Iran
Elad Benari ,

National flags in Bandar Abbas, Iran
National flags in Bandar Abbas, Iran

Iran on Sunday denied reports that security forces had shot and killed at least four protesters during a demonstration city of Khorramshahr late Saturday, AFP reported.

Several people were injured in the southwestern Iranian city during a demonstration against water pollution, according to Iranian state media.

The protesters set fire to rubbish bins and damaged public property, prompting police to fire tear gas to disperse them, state-run IRNA news agency said Sunday.

Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli insisted that just one person was injured in a "confrontation involving shots", denying reports carried by Saudi media that Iranian security forces had shot and killed protesters.

"The statements saying numerous people were killed are false," he said during a press conference, according to AFP.

Officials gave different accounts of those injured during the protest, with Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaghari saying 11 people were hurt when someone opened fire.

"Ten were members of the security forces" and one was a civilian who was hospitalized, he was quoted by IRNA as saying.

The attacker has not been identified, the news agency said.

Iran has been facing mounting economic woes since the United States in May pulled out of a 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers that had lifted international sanctions in exchange for curbs on the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Iran's currency has plunged almost 50 percent in value in the past six months against the U.S. dollar and inflation is on the rise.

Traders in Tehran's Grand Bazaar held a rare strike last week against the collapse of the rial.

Brief scuffles also broken out on Monday between protesters and police in the capital, according to AFP.

Iran also suffered from anti-government protests last January. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed at the time that "Iran's enemies have been encouraging the demonstrations in the country in recent days with money, weapons and intelligence agents."

Similarly, Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami, who is viewed as a “reformist” and a “moderate”, accused the United States of stirring unrest in the country.