Iranian unrest spreads to remote, restive provinces

least 19 people were killed in Iran on Friday during antigovernment protests in a southeastern province that is home to a restive ethnic minority, as unrest spread to remote regions of the country in a new challenge to the ruling Islamic establishment, Benoit Faucon reports in the Wall Street Journal. Antigovernment protests erupted in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan, one of the largest and poorest of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to video posted on social media and local news reports. Armed men attacked local police stations in the area, state media reported, adding that at least 19 people had died, including a senior intelligence officer.

The unrest in Sistan-Baluchistan, which had been relatively quiet as protests over the rights of women and wider state repression broke out across the country in the past two weeks, opens a new front for the government as it tries to brutally suppress the movement. There were also reports of protests in Ahvaz, the provincial capital of oil-rich Khuzestan, with some social media video showing demonstrators calling for “death to the oppressor,” cars honking and women taking off their veils.

More than 40 people have been killed, more than 500 injured and more than 1,000 arrested in a sweeping crackdown since protests broke out following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month in police custody for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code.

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