THE National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) — which is effectively the country’s opposition in exile — has claimed that almost 200 protests reached more than 60 cities and towns as they entered their sixth day.

It receives intelligence from its network of contacts inside Iran — the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK) — which indicate that at least 30 people have died and more than 1000 arrested.

State authorities said that 450 protesters have been detained in Tehran alone, although the number is thought to be higher.

PMOI spokesperson Shahin Gobadi told The National: “The number of protesters who have been shot to death is now at least 30 including in Izeh, (Khuzestan province), Tuyserkan (Hamedan province), and in Shahinshahr (near Isfahan).

“The regime has resorted to more brute force for suppression and yesterday the judiciary chief threatened that there would be a harsher crackdown.

“The mullahs are also trying to intensify their censorship by cutting off the people’s access to social media so that the world would not know what is going on.

“The international community should not tolerate the crackdown on the defenceless protesters and should speak out in defence of the demonstrators and their legitimate demands.

“It is very telling that despite all the regime’s crackdown, the people from all walks of life and all age groups have stood firm and moving forward as more protests are planned for throughout the country for today.”

Gobadi added that the country was hungry to take control of its own future: “The world is witnessing the cries of a nation that has been deprived of its most rudimentary rights for decades and now wants to take control of its fate and future from a ruthless theocracy.

“The situation is the culmination of acute crises that the regime faced for years and had tried to cover up which now have erupted.

“The underlying message of protests and uprisings in 62 cities and towns throughout the country is that the Iranian people want regime change and it is within reach.

“The world should be on their side.”