Iranian authorities said three people including a member of the security forces had been killed on Tuesday during unrest sweeping the country, as anger at the death of a woman in the custody of the morality police fuelled protests for a fifth day.
Official sources now say a total of seven people have been killed since protests erupted on Saturday over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan who died last week after being arrested in Tehran for "unsuitable attire".
Reports from Kurdish rights group Hengaw said seven protesters had been killed by security forces, three of them on Tuesday, in or near Kurdish areas in the northwest of the country where unrest has been particularly intense and deadly.
Officials have denied that security forces have killed protesters.
Hengaw also said access to the internet had been cut in Kurdistan province - a move that would hinder videos being shared from a region where the authorities have previously suppressed unrest by the Kurdish minority.
The internet shutdown observatory NetBlocks and residents said Iran has restricted access to Instagram, the only major social media platform that Iran does not usually block. A senior official said recently it had about 48 million users in the country.
The minister of communications said he had been misquoted after news outlets cited him as saying the authorities might disrupt internet services for security reasons.
Amini's death has unleashed anger over issues including freedoms in the Islamic Republic and an economy reeling from sanctions. Women have waved and burnt their veils during protests, with some cutting their hair in public.
After beginning on Saturday at Amini's funeral in the Kurdish region, protests have engulfed much of the country, prompting confrontations as security forces have sought to suppress them.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not mention the protests - some of Iran's worst unrest since street clashes last year over water shortages - during a speech on Wednesday commemorating the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
A top Khamenei aide paid condolences to Amini's family this week, promising to follow up on the case and saying the Supreme Leader was affected and pained by her death.
The official IRNA news agency said a "police assistant" died from injuries on Tuesday in the southern city of Shiraz.
"Some people clashed with police officers and as a result one of the police assistants was killed. In this incident, four other police officers were injured," IRNA said. An official quoted by IRNA said 15 protesters were arrested in Shiraz.
(c) 2022, Reuters