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Why security forces of Iran killed celebrity chef Mehrshad Shahidi?

Mehrshad Shahidi killed in Iran

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards took another life in the anti-hijab protests. This time it was a 19-year-old celebrity chef. Mehrshad Shahidi who gained popularity on social media for his cooking was killed by the IRGC at the detention centre. According to a close relative, Mehrshad was hit multiple times with the batons and received severe, fatal, blows to his skull.

According to Free Press Journal, the family of the deceased was pressured by the Iranian regime to falsely claim that Mehrshad died due to a heart attack. Government officials have denied any claims.

People turned up in numbers for his funeral after his unfortunate death. He dead on 26th October, Wednesday, a day before his 20th birthday.

People say, Shahidi was an individual of great calibre, and ‘perseverance’.

He was appreciated by his 25,000 followers on Instagram for his cooking skills. He was also known as ‘Iran’s Jamie Oliver’.

He was the head chef at the University of Arak. According to the students, he was very ‘popular’, and ‘energetic’. 

The government have asked the protestors to ‘stand down’. Against the orders, protestors attended the funeral and chanted,

“Everyone who is killed will be supported by thousands more.”

Several people claimed that the death of Mehrshad Shahidi would fuel the protest instead of stopping it. 

What are Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps?

IRGC is a branch of the Iranian Armed forces with the intention to safeguard the country’s Islamic principles from any internal threat. While the army guards the borders, the IRGC ensures the smooth functioning of the political system inside the country by preventing political movements, coups by military or other any other form of dissent. 

The wing was founded by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. In the flip side, the countries like United States, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have designated the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.

What are anti-hijab protests?

Protests broke out in Iran when a 22 year was killed in police custody. Mahsa Amini was arrested for defying the strict conduct of women in the country. She was killed on 16th September, and since then women in the country have come out against the atrocities of the state and demanded freedom from oppression. 

Students and women have come out in numbers to support the anti-hijab protests. Several visuals have gone viral of the protests. The police and IRGC have attempted a ‘crackdown’ to stop the protests. The protestors have defied the warming calls from the IRGC commanders multiple times.

Number of protesters killed during Iranian protests (2022) | Source of data : Iran Human Rights

Since the protests began, more than 160 people have been killed according to the rights group.

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