Iranian Forces Unleash Heavy Fire On Protesters, Activists Say

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian safety forces used heavy gunfire towards protesters in a Kurdish city within the nation’s west on Monday, killing not less than 5 throughout an anti-government protest that erupted on the funeral of two individuals killed the day earlier than, activists mentioned.

Movies circulating on-line present dozens of protesters taking shelter in alleyways as heavy gunfire echoes by way of the streets. Some present people mendacity immobile and bloodied within the streets, whereas others present residents gathering at a neighborhood hospital to donate blood.

Iran has been convulsed by anti-government protests because the Sept. 16 loss of life of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish girl who died within the custody of the nation’s morality police within the capital, Tehran. The protests, which had been initially concentrated within the western, Kurdish area of Iran the place Amini was from, have unfold throughout the nation and escalated into requires the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics.

Hengaw, a Kurdish human rights group, mentioned Iranian safety forces unleashed heavy gunfire on protesters within the city of Javanrud, the place a funeral was held for 2 protesters killed the day earlier than. It cited witnesses as saying that Iranian forces used heavy machine weapons.

Hengaw mentioned seven individuals had been killed on Monday, whereas one other group, the Kurdistan Human Rights Community, put the toll at 5. The latter group mentioned lots of the wounded had been being handled in properties due to fears they may very well be arrested from hospitals, making it tough to substantiate the toll. It mentioned a number of had been shot within the head or chest.

On this picture from video offered by Hengaw Group for Human Rights, a protester reacts after a water container was hit by a bullet throughout a protest in Javanroud, a Kurdish city in western Iran, on Nov. 21, 2022.

Hengaw Group for Human Rights by way of AP

Iranian authorities closely limit media protection of the protests and have periodically shut off web entry, making it tough to substantiate particulars of the unrest.

The semiofficial Fars information company reported protests in Javanrud on Sunday night time, saying safety forces had been fired upon with stay ammunition. It mentioned two individuals had been killed and 4 wounded.

Afterward Monday, state TV interviewed a neighborhood safety official, Mohammad Pourhashemi, who blamed the taking pictures in Javanrud on native gunmen who he mentioned had exchanged hearth with safety forces. The report didn’t present additional particulars.

Funerals have usually been the scene of renewed protests in current weeks, as they had been throughout the 1979 Islamic Revolution that introduced the clerics to energy. The newest demonstrations mark the most important problem to the theocracy in over a decade.

No less than 426 individuals have been killed and greater than 17,400 arrested, in response to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a bunch monitoring the unrest. It says not less than 55 members of the safety forces have been killed.

Jalal Mahmoudzadeh, a lawmaker representing the Kurdish metropolis of Mahabad, informed the Etemad each day that 11 individuals have been killed throughout protests within the metropolis since late October, lots of them in current days. He mentioned some members of the safety forces fired upon properties and companies on Saturday, and he referred to as on authorities to undertake a softer contact.

The unrest forged a shadow over the World Cup on Monday, the place the Iranian nationwide staff confronted off towards England. Iran’s gamers didn’t sing alongside to their nationwide anthem, and a few followers chanted Amini’s identify on the twenty second minute of the match.

The violence has additionally spilled throughout the border into neighboring Iraq’s northern Kurdish area. Iran has blamed the unrest at house partly on Kurdish teams based mostly in Iraq, and has focused them with missile and drone assaults.

Iran mentioned Monday that its newest strikes had been essential to guard the nation’s borders, whereas Kurdish officers condemned the assaults as unprovoked aggression. Iraq’s central authorities, which is dominated by events near Iran, additionally condemned the strikes.

A strike late Sunday killed a member of the Democratic Social gathering of Iranian Kurdistan, mentioned Mohammed Nazif Qaderi, a senior official within the Kurdish Iranian group residing in exile in Iraq.

The group mentioned Iranian surface-to-surface missiles and drones hit its bases and adjoining refugee camps in Koya and Jejnikan. The group additionally asserted that the strikes had hit a hospital in Koya.

The Iranian strikes come within the wake of a go to to Baghdad final week by Esmail Ghaani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Power. Through the go to, Ghaani threatened Iraq with a floor navy operation within the nation’s north if the Iraqi military doesn’t fortify the border.

Iran fans hold up protest signs ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on Nov. 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Iran followers maintain up protest indicators forward of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa Worldwide Stadium on Nov. 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Sebastian Frej/MB Media by way of Getty Pictures

Some Kurdish teams have been engaged in a low-intensity battle with Tehran because the 1979 revolution. Iran accuses them of inciting protests in Iran and smuggling weapons into the nation, allegations the Kurdish teams have denied. Iran has not offered proof to again up the claims.

On Monday, Iranian International Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani informed reporters that Iran had acted to “protect its borders and security of its citizens based on its legal rights.” He alleged that the federal government in Baghdad and the Irbil-based administration of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish area had did not implement purported commitments to forestall threats towards Iran from Iraqi areas.

The federal government of the autonomous Kurdish area of Iraq condemned the strikes as a “gross infringement of international law and neighborly relations.”

Qaderi informed The Related Press the Kurdish opposition teams in Iraq assist the protests in Iran, which he described as a response to “the policies of this regime” he mentioned oppresses its individuals. He denied that his group has despatched fighters or weapons to Iran.

He mentioned that his group had moved fighters away from the border to keep away from giving Iran an “excuse” for additional assaults. He referred to as on the worldwide group to forestall additional aggression by Iran.

America condemned the newest Iranian strikes. “Such indiscriminate and illegal attacks place civilians at risk, violate Iraqi sovereignty, and jeopardize the hard-fought security and stability of Iraq and the Middle East,” Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, who heads U.S. Central Command, mentioned in an announcement.

Sunday’s Iranian strikes in northern Iraq come a day after Turkey launched lethal airstrikes over northern areas of Syria and Iraq, focusing on Kurdish teams that Ankara holds liable for final week’s bomb assault in Istanbul.

On Monday, Turkish officers mentioned suspected Kurdish militants in Syria fired rockets into the border city of Karkamis in Turkey, killing two individuals, together with a trainer and a 5-year-old boy.