Iranian police are using drones to monitor the anti-government protests, according to a media report.
According to the Tasnim news agency – considered the mouthpiece of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – the drones are supposed to help the special forces to observe the events more effectively and also to detect homemade bombs.
Tasnim did not specify what type of drones were used in the police operations.
Police and security forces claim that the demonstrators are setting fire to public facilities with Molotov cocktails.
They also claim that some of them are armed and have killed at least 27 security personnel in recent weeks. This information could not be independently verified.
Observers, however, see the demonstrators’ readiness to use violence as a reaction to the police brutality.
The United Nations recently expressed increasing concern about reports of dead demonstrators.
“We condemn all incidents that result in the death or serious injury of protesters and reiterate that security forces must refrain from all non-essential or inappropriate violence against peaceful demonstrators,” a UN spokesman said in New York on Friday (local time).
The protests in Iran are now in their fifth week and so far the security apparatus has failed to bring them under control. It is feared that the Iranian leadership could soon also use the military and the Revolutionary Guards against the demonstrators.
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, on Saturday called for an end to the street protests that have rocked the country for more than 40 days.
“The protesters should not try the patience of the system,” the general warned on Saturday, according to a report by the state-run IRNA news agency.
“We are telling our young people once again: Today is the last day of unrest. Do not come to the streets anymore.”
According to Salami, the unrest since mid-September was a conspiracy by the United States, Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia. “Do not become pawns of the enemies of the country,” he said.
The nationwide mass protests were triggered by the death of a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini. Amini was arrested in mid-September by Iran’s so-called morality police for violating the state-imposed strict Islamic dress code. Amini died in police custody just days after her arrest.
The unrest has also been held partially responsible by the military for Wednesday’s deadly attack on a mosque in Iran’s southern city of Shiraz.
The suspected perpetrator, who was shot at the scene by security forces before being taken to hospital, died of his injuries, the governor’s office in Fars province announced on Saturday, according to a report by IRNA.
At least 13 people were killed and dozens were injured in the attack claimed by the terrorist organization Islamic State.
Meanwhile, the Iranian daily newspaper Shargh has vehemently denied accusations of espionage against its imprisoned reporter Nilufar Hamedi in relation to the protests that have rocked the country.
In her reporting on the subject of Amini Hamedi was merely pursuing her journalistic activities, editor-in-chief Mehdi Rahmanian stressed on Saturday.
An intelligence report on Friday had accused Hamedi and a colleague, among other things, of having been trained by and of collaborating with US “state mafia” and the CIA. Their reporting was then exploited by foreign countries to spark unrest in Iran, it said.
Hamedi was the first journalist to publicize Amini’s case in Iran. She was arrested and has been in the notorious Evin prison in the capital Tehran for over a month. If the secret service insists on its accusations against Hamedi and her colleague Elaheh Mohammadi, the journalists could face heavy prison sentences.
Thousands of people in several German cities have again expressed their solidarity with the protesters in Iran.
In Cologne, there were three demonstrations in the city centre on Saturday, with several thousand taking part, according to the police.
In Dusseldorf, police said about 3,000 people attended a demonstration, considerably more than expected. The organizer had initially registered 750 participants. The demonstrations proceeded without any special incidents, said a police spokesperson.
After the large demonstration with tens of thousands of participants last weekend in Berlin, a human chain formed there in the early afternoon between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate. According to the police, up to 1,600 people took part. By late afternoon, there were already significantly fewer.
On posters, the demonstrators demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners in Iran, or shouted “Down with the Islamic Republic.” Again and again, posters with photos of Amini could be seen.
In Hamburg on Saturday, about 350 people took to the streets in support of the protesters in Iran.