Kurdish protests continue in Iran despite government crackdown

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Iranian Kurds protest against the execution of Kurdish rebels in Iran (Getty)

ARA News

MAHABAD – Iranian paramilitary forces arrested dozens of Kurdish activists on Friday amid continuing anti-government protests.

The demonstrations broke out last Tuesday in Iran’s restive Kurdish region. Hundreds of angry Kurds took to the streets in the cities of Mariwan and Mahabad to condemn “suppression by the Iranian authorities.” The protests have now spread to other cities, including Sanandaj, the capital of Kordestan Province.

“Iranian forces arrested more than 30 activists on Friday on the [charge] of organising anti-regime protests in the Kurdistan region of Iran,” journalist Saman Sardashti told ARA News.

“Despite this campaign of mass arrests, the number of protesters has increased since Tuesday,” the journalist reported.

“Kurdish citizens in Mahabad, Mariwan and Sanandaj raised anti-regime banners, condemning the oppressive practices by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and calling for the release of all political prisoners,” Sardashti said

Breaking The Silence 

Dewran Rida, a Kurdish rights activist, told ARA News: “The [protests’] main goal was to break the silence and express our outrage about the arbitrary arrests and mass executions in Iran.”

Iranian security forces raided a number of houses in the city of Mahabad and its countryside last Tuesday, arresting dozens of Kurdish activists. The arrests may have set off the protests, which immediately followed.

“Iranian forces stormed houses in Mahabad city and the village of Qere Gul and arrested dozens of civilian activists. This has raised the people’s outrage,” Kurdish political activist Halmand Mihemendi told ARA News. “We took to the street to express our condemnation to such suppressive practices.”

According to Mihemendi, who has previously been arrested by Iranian paramilitary forces, most of the arrestees are being tortured regardless of the charge. “And a majority of those detained by the authorities are being executed. This has been taking place in Iran on a daily basis,” he added.

Foreign Support? 

“The Iranian regime always tries to export its problems, accusing the opposition forces of being backed by foreign countries,” Mihammed Salih Qadiri, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, said. “However, we stress that so far there has been no foreign support for the Kurdish people in Iran.”

Qadiri told ARA News that it would be better for the West to support the “nations inside Iran” rather than making deals with the Iranian government. “The Iranian regime is a threat for all of the Middle East, and the West should understand this,” he said.

Clashes first erupted between Kurdish Peshmerga and Iranian Revolutionary Guards on June 15. They have continued unabated.

Reporting by: Sozbin Cheleng & Raman Yousef | Source: ARA News

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