Human rights organizations accuse the Iranian authorities of deploying military reinforcements in the Kurdish regions where anti-regime protests have intensified and fear a strengthening of the repression.
The armed forces have since yesterday (19/11) deployed reinforcements in the northwestern Iranian city of Mahabad, the non-governmental organization Hengaw for the defense of the rights of Iranian Kurds complained on Twitter, citing firing in residential areas.
The group posted photos showing a military helicopter carrying members of the Revolutionary Guards flying over Mahabad.
According to Hengaw, shopkeepers went on strike today to protest the crackdown.
Authorities “cut off electricity in Mahabad today and automatic weapons fire is heard,” wrote Mahmoud Amiri-Moghadam, director of the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), adding that there were reports of dead or wounded protesters. In an audio document that he posted, shots and shouts can be heard.
According to the Hengaw organization, explosions were heard early today in several cities of the Kurdistan province such as Marivan, Bukan and Saghez. The situation is critical in the town of Diwandarleh, where security forces killed three protesters yesterday, according to the organization.
Tasnim news agency reported that “rioters attacked, looted and set fire to houses in Mahabad belonging to the police and military. Order and security have been restored,” the Iranian news agency reported.
The Kurds are one of Iran’s main ethnic minorities, numbering 10 million of Iran’s 83 million population. Most Kurds in Shiite Iran are Sunni.
Since mid-September and the death of Mahsa Amini, who belonged to the Kurdish minority, protests against her arrest and death for violating the dress code imposed on women have turned into an anti-establishment movement.
At least 378 people have been killed in the crackdown on the protest movement, according to the latest tally released yesterday by Iran Human Rights. Among the dead are 47 children.
Six arrested protesters have been sentenced to death so far.
Source: News Beast
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