Rights groups warn of escalating ‘military attacks’ on protesters in Iran

Rights groups have accused Iranian security forces of launching ‘an all-out military attack’ on protesters in Kurdish areas in the west of the country as anger escalates over the Mahsa Amini, 22, died while in police custody last month.

Iran has been rocked by the unrest that was sparked by Amini’s death on September 16 while detained for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly. Protesters defied authorities, who responded with heavy-handed tactics that rights groups say have left nearly 200 people dead, many from the Kurdish part of the country where Amini is from.

Some videos posted on social media of protests in the Kurdish town of Sanandaj showed security officers firing directly at protesters on October 10, the same day Amnesty International warned of a crackdown by “security forces using firearms and firing tear gas indiscriminately, including into people’s homes.” .”

Added another group of rights, the Hengaw Human Rights Organization: “Sanandaj is under an all-out military attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran. At the same time, access routes, including the Internet, have been cut off, access to immediate care for the wounded is under pressure security services officers, and documents received by Hengaw show the use of prohibited weapons of war.”

WATCH: More than 1,000 Iranian oil workers have joined nationwide protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

hengaw also reported that he had rinformation received that government forces stationed in the western towns of Saghez and Divandareh also had weapons such as machine guns.

Videos posted social media in the southern Iranian city of Marvdasht showed protesters destroying photos of Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force, who was killed by the United States in a a drone attack in Iraq in 2020.

The protests over Amini’s death came after a summer of unrest across Iran over poor living conditions, water shortages and economic hardship stemming from crippling US sanctions on Iran. Iran for its nuclear program.

Iran’s oil industry, one of the few sectors of the economy capable of earning money for the government, has joined the protests, with videos on October 10 showing strikers burning tires and blocking roads in the exterior of the Asalouyeh petrochemical plant in the southwest.

WATCH: The mother of Nika Shakarami – a 16-year-old who was killed after taking part in anti-government protests in Tehran on September 20 – has accused Iranian authorities of ‘lying’ about her daughter’s death in order to to “exempt”.

Protesters could be heard shouting slogans such as “Death to the dictator” and “Fear not. We are all together!”

More than 1,000 workers at petrochemical companies in Bushehr, Damavand and Hengam also went on strike, while those at Abadan Oil Refinery and Kangan Petro Refining Company joined them on 11 October.

The Organizing Council of Contract Oil Workers in Iran said a number of protesters were arrested during a strike by Bushehr petrochemical workers in the southern Iranian city of Asaluyeh , October 10.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by Radio Farda of RFE/RL

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