The mother of a 10-year-old boy killed when Iranian security police sprayed the family car with bullets has apparently been forced to deny that she has mocked the country’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
Tragic Kian Pirfalak died and his father was seriously injured when the family came under fire from plainclothes police as they drove home in Izeh, Khuzestan Province, on 16th November.
Independent media have claimed that security police had targeted the family car, while officials have blamed the shooting on “terrorists”.
But, in a video emerging on social media, Kian’s mother, Zaynab Molaei-Rad, appears to hold Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, responsible.
The video – filmed at Kian’s burial on 18th November – allegedly shows her reciting a nursery rhyme with the lyrics changed to mock Khamenei.
Before a huge crowd, she can apparently be heard singing: “How’s Mr Seyyed Ali doing? He has a long beard coming down to his chest, a chest full of hatred. His heart is like stone, all he says is nonsense!”
But just hours later, state media in Iran broadcast an interview with Zaynab in which she said: “Please don’t misinterpret my remarks… My child was martyred… I didn’t recite anything… Don’t use my son’s death for your own ends.”
Independent media believe she made these statements under duress.
The row emerged as a new, heartbreaking video surfaced showing Kian smiling as he dances to traditional music.
Kian’s uncle, Sajjad Pirfalak, told independent media that the family had kept Kian’s body at a relative’s house for fear it would be stolen by authorities before they could bury him.
He has corroborated independent media’s account of the killing.
Kian’s father remains in hospital recovering from gunshot wounds.
The family belongs to the Bakhtiari ethnic group. The Bakhtiari population is believed to be around 880,000, while Iran’s population stands at more than 85 million.
Iranian minorities are believed by many human rights groups to disproportionately suffer from state repression.
The ongoing protests in Iran have killed at least 416 people, including 51 children, and injured at least 1,160, according to independent estimates.
It is also understood that more than 17,400 people have been arrested so far.