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Iran's Raisi meets families of forces killed in protests

President Raisi meeting families of security personnel killed during the mass protests
— Tehran (AFP)

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi has met with families of security personnel killed during mass protests sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini last year, state media reported Saturday.

Raisi has been holding the meetings since Thursday during a visit to the northeastern city of Mashhad, ahead of Saturday's first anniversary of Amini's death.

Iran was gripped by nationwide demonstrations following Amini's death days after her arrest by Tehran's morality police for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

Hundreds of people were killed, including dozens of security force members, during the months-long protests, and thousands more were arrested.

"Raisi met today with the families of security defenders," the official IRNA news agency said.

His meetings included the families of Danial Rezazadeh and Hossein Zeinalzadeh, Tasnim news agency said.

Rezazadeh and Zeinalzadeh were members of the pro-government Basij paramilitary force who were killed when they intervened to stop the protests on November 17, state media said at the time.

Their deaths were blamed on MajidReza Rahnavard, one of seven people Iran's judiciary later executed over their links to the protests.

During a meeting on Thursday, Raisi welcomed "the shameful failure of the enemy's project aimed at destabilising" Iran, according to a statement issued by the presidency.

On Saturday, authorities arrested several groups on accusations of "planning to create chaos" and producing content to serve "hostile media", according to IRNA.

Some of these groups were from Amini's home province of Kurdistan, and others were from Iran's northwest and south, the agency added.

Others were arrested in the northeastern province of North Khorasan for instigating "riots", according to the Mehr news agency.

Authorities in the central city of Isfahan have "identified 97 people" and blocked 15 Instagram pages for attempting to stir up "public opinion" on the anniversary of the protests, IRNA said.