Iranian protesters set fire to Ayatollah Khomeini's house

Tehran, Nov 19 (IANS): Iranian protesters have set fire to the ancestral home of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic.

Images posted on social media show part of the structure in the city of Khomein being set ablaze, the BBC reported.

News agencies have verified the videos' location, but regional authorities denied there had been an arson attack.

Khomeini is said to have been born in the house, which is now a museum that commemorates his life, the BBC reported.

Khomeini was the leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, which deposed the country's pro-Western leader, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and ushered in the theocratic state that exists today.

He served as the first supreme leader of Iran until his death in 1989, which is still marked by a day of mourning each year,.

Videos circulating on social media show dozens of people cheering as the fire breaks out.

An activist network said the footage was taken on Thursday evening.

However, Khomein county's press office denied there had been any attack to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The agency said a small number of people had gathered outside the house and later shared a video of the house, saying it was open to "pilgrims and lovers of the deceased Imam".

"The doors of the house of the late founder of the great revolution are open to the public," the agency added.

The fire at his ancestral house is one of the latest incidents in a wave of nationwide demonstrations directed at his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his government, reports the BBC.

The protests against Iran's clerical establishment erupted two months ago after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police for allegedly breaking the strict hijab rules.

Five members of the security forces were killed in the latest unrest on Thursday, according to Iranian state media.

Meanwhile, funerals for young Iranians said to have been killed by security forces sparked fresh demonstrations on Friday.

Crowds chanting "death to Ali Khamenei" gathered in the south-western city of Izeh for the funeral of a nine-year-old boy, Kian Pirfalak, who was shot dead by security forces, according to his family, although officials have denied this.

There were further protests in the cities of Tabriz, Mahabad and Zahedan over civilian deaths blamed on security forces, BBC reported.



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