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Gunman Who Attacked Iran Shrine Dies; Guard Warns Protesters

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DUBAI, Oct 29: The gunman who killed 15 people at a major Shiite holy site in southern Iran earlier this week has died, Iranian media said on Saturday.

The report came as Tehran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard issued a new warning to Iranians joining the protests that have roiled the country since last month.

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Iranian authorities have not disclosed details about the assailant, who died in a hospital in the southern city of Shiraz from injuries sustained during his arrest, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

Wednesday’s attack on Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran’s second-holiest Shiite shrine was claimed by the militant Islamic State group. Iran’s government has sought to blame the attack on the largely peaceful protests engulfing the country, without offering evidence.

The unrest — sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police — has rocked the Islamic Republic for over a month. Amini died after being detained for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code for women.

At the funeral for victims of the shooting in Shiraz, the chief of the Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, called on Iranians to stop protesting. His threat came as the Guard and other security forces have violently cracked down on demonstrations with live ammunition, anti-riot pellets and tear gas.

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“Today is the end of the riots. Do not go to the streets anymore!” Salami said on Saturday. “We are telling our youth, the minority of you who have been deceived, stop the evil acts.”

He added in the same harsh tone: “This ominous sedition will bring no happy ending to you. Do not ruin your future!”

The Iranian government has repeatedly alleged that foreign powers have orchestrated the protests, without providing evidence. The protests have become one of the most serious threats to Iran’s ruling clerics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The protests first focused on the state-mandated hijab, or headscarf, for women but quickly grew into calls for the downfall of Iran’s theocracy itself. At least 270 people have been killed and 14,000 have been arrested in the protests that have swept over 125 Iranian cities, according to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran.

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On Friday, Iranian security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the southeastern city of Zahedan, killing two people, according to activists.

Zahedan, in Iran’s long-restive Sistan and Baluchestan province, has seen the deadliest violence in protests so far. Activists estimate that in Zahedan alone, nearly 100 people have been killed since a September 30 rally set off a violent police response. (AP)

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