As protests in Iran take an ugly twist, protesters burned down the ancestral home of the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini late on Thursday despite a harsh crackdown by the IRGC.
Khomeini, the father of Iran's 1979 revolution, was said to be born at this house in the city of Khomein in the western Markazi province. His surname was taken from the town of "Khomein". Following his exile in Paris, he went onto become Iran's first supreme leader. After Khomeini died in 1989, the house was turned into a museum in his honour. But there is some confusion whether the fire, it's unclear what damage the building sustained.
Iran's Tasnim news media which is the mouth piece of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps denied the incident, saying the "door of the historic house is open to visitors". However, video posted to social media shows the house on fire as crowds marched past and cheered. The authenticity and the date of the footage making rounds on Twitter and Instagram hasn't been determined.
David Patrikarakos, journalist and author, who has written a book about Iran's nuclear ambitions, shared pictures of the incident and said the fire represents an "attack" challenging the essence of the republic itself.
The fire is one of the latest incidents in a wave of nationwide demonstrations directed at Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his regime.
Inhuman Crackdown on Protesters
As the Iranian regime struggles to contain protests, IRGC opened fire on family members mourning a slain protester and seized his body from hospital. The inhumane and ruthless crackdown has left at least 342 people dead, including several women and scores of women. Moreover, thousands have been arrested and about six protesters have been sentenced to death.
Activists accused the IRGC of carrying out secret burials of protesters they have killed to prevent more violence from breaking out at the funerals. In the town of Divandarreh, in Kurdistan province, security forces opened fire wounding several people. 10 people, including a woman, two children and a security officer, were killed in two separate attacks on Wednesday in the cities of Izeh and Isfahan.
Protesters Clash Pro-Regime Basij Milita Fighters
There are fiery battles between protesters and security forces backed by pro-regime Basij militia fighters. Basij was established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini shortly after the 1979 revolution to "Islamize Iranian society" and combat enemies from within. This militia group led notorious human wave attacks against Saddam Hussein's army during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. It took a domestic role in the late 1990s during the student revolts.
The current spate of protests, breaking out in cities, university campuses and secondary schools, is the most geographically and demographically diverse display of discontent with the regime in years. It has the support of the rich, the poor, urban and rural, men and women alike. However, its overwhelmingly being led by young people.