CHAOTIC scenes have erupted across Iran as protesters fight back against cops while others turn buildings and cars into fireballs.
The country’s Revolutionary Guard has chillingly vowed to unleash a “decisive” crackdown on rioters as protests flare up nationwide over strict hijab laws.
One dramatic clip shows rioters forcing back an armoured police truck in the city of Amol, while other footage shows a group fighting back against cops who turned up to break up a march.
Masha, 22, was was beaten to death by the morality police after being arrested in the capital Tehran for not complying with the harsh rules.
She was allegedly detained for having some hair visible under her headscarf – which Iranian women are legally required to wear.
Protests were sparked nationwide following her death as thousands of fed-up citizens rally against the strict laws.
Female protestors have burned hijabs in the street and many people have been injured.
Amid the widespread scenes of unrest, authorities have cut off access to Whatsapp and Instagram in a bid to stop footage of protests from being shared.
Meanwhile, the country’s Revolutionary Guard is preparing to clamp down on rioters.
In a haunting message, the elite branch of the armed forces called for the prosecution of “those who spread false news and rumours” about Masha’s death.
The unit has also requested the courts identify people taking to the streets “who endanger the psychological safety of society and deal with them decisively.”
The response to protests from the authorities has been harsh and members of paramilitary groups like the Revolutionary Guard and Basij militia have been spotted beating protestors with bats.
These groups are separate from the Iranian Army but have previously been used by the country’s dictatorial Islamic regime to suppress protests.
But Iran’s Army today warned it would “confront the enemies” to ensure “security and peace” in the country, according to a statement.
The army said “these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime”.
Some 280 rioters were arrested while around 26 people have been killed, according to Iranian media.
Among those killed was Hananeh Kia, who was struck by a stray bullet apparently fired by Iranian police as they opened fire on rioters, independent Iranian news platform Iranwire reports.
The 23-year-old was on her way home in the city of Nowshahr on Wednesday evening when she was hit in the side and died on the spot, her family said.
But outrage over Masha’s death showed no signs of fading asprotesters in Tehran and other cities torch police stations and vehicles.
Her death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.
Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history.
Desperate leaders in Iran have mobilised their all-female special forces unit to infiltrate protests setting the country ablaze.
The unit’s leader – Colonel Heydari – has been filmed spying on one protest.
Local media reported that the elite unit will operate undercover with photographers in protest groups to identify ringleaders.
FLAMES OF RAGE
The unit’s leader Colonel Heydari has confirmed her commando unit has been deployed at public protests.
A reporter asked: “Doesn’t your presence here cause even more tension, most people worry that you are here in order to use violent methods on other women.”
The colonel replied: “The arrival of our women’s police force is to bring peace.
“I’m sorry to see other women in these protests carrying out illegal actions that are inconsistent with social rules.
“We are here to oppose them in accordance with procedures based on Islamic values.
“We step in to make sure these women do not have contact with our male colleagues.”
Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi pulled out of an interview with a journalist after she refused to wear a headscarf.
CNN’s chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour said she had planned to confront Raisi about the protests in what would be his first US-based interview.
But Amanpour wrote on Twitter that Raisi, who was at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, was a no-show.
An aide told the British-Iranian anchor the president refused to take part unless she wore a headscarf, given the situation in Iran.
She wrote on Twitter: “I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition.”
The US government has imposed sanctions on the morality police and leaders of other Iranian security agencies, saying they routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters.
Iranian police claim Masha died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but it is widely reported she was severely beaten by cops.
The US Treasury has hit the leaders of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Army’s Ground Forces, the Basij Resistance Forces, and other law enforcement agencies with sanctions.
It means they will be denied access to their properties and bank accounts held in the US.
Mahsa died on September 16 after she was reportedly beaten into a coma by the police.
She fell into a coma shortly after collapsing at the detention centre and died three days later in hospital.
The morality police have denied smashing her head with a baton and banging it against one of their vehicles.