Protesters at the funeral of a young boy whose family say was killed by Iranian security forces have chanted anti-regime slogans and ridiculed the official account of his death.
Hundreds of mourners flocked to the city of Izeh in south-western Iran for the funeral of Kian Pirfalak, according to footage posted online.
His mother said at the funeral ceremony that Kian was shot on Wednesday by security forces, although Iranian officials insisted he was killed in a “terrorist” attack carried out by an extremist group.
“Hear it from me myself on how the shooting happened, so they can’t say it was by terrorists because they’re lying,” his mother told mourners, according to a video posted by the 1500tasvir activist Twitter account. “Maybe they thought we wanted to shoot or something and they peppered the car with bullets … Plainclothes forces shot my child. That’s it.”
Ridiculing the official version of events, the protesters chanted: “Basij, Sepah – you are our Isis!” according to a video posted by the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR). The Basij is a pro-government paramilitary force and Sepah is another name for Iran’s feared Revolutionary Guard. Isis is an alternative name for the extremist Islamic State group.
“Death to Khamenei,” they shouted in another video posted by 1500tasvir, referring to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Activists have put Kian’s age when he died at nine or 10.
Opposition media based outside Iran said another child, 14-year-old Sepehr Maghsoudi, was shot dead in similar circumstances in Izeh on Wednesday.
Funerals have repeatedly become flashpoints for protests in the movement that started after the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by the Tehran morality police.
Iranian state television reported seven people had been buried, including a nine-year-old boy, saying they had been killed by “terrorists” on motorbikes.
The Fars news agency, which is affiliated with the Guard, quoted the governor of Khuzestan province, Sadegh Khalilian, as saying that “foreign elements” were responsible.
“Kian Pirfalak, nine, and Sepehr Maghsoudi, 14, are among at least 56 kids killed by Iranian forces working to crush Iran’s 2022 Revolution,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.
IHR also said anti-regime slogans were chanted at the funeral in the northern city of Tabriz for Aylar Haghi, a young medical student who activists say was killed in a fall from a building blamed on the security forces.
In a separate development, video clips showing showing the ancestral home of the late founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on fire have been shared widely on social media, with activists saying it was torched by protesters.
Reuters verified the location of two video clips using the distinctive arches and buildings that match file images. The semi-official Tasnim news agency, however, denied Khomeini’s house was set on fire, saying a small number of people had gathered outside the house.
Social media videos show dozens of people cheering as a flash of fire is sparked in a building. Reuters could not independently verify the dates when the videos were filmed. 1500Tasvir said the incident occurred on Thursday evening in Khomeini’s birth town of Khomein, south of the capital, Tehran. The house had been converted into a museum.
“The report is a lie,” said the Tasnim news agency, adding: “The doors of the house of the late founder of the great revolution are open to the public.”