Two separate attacks. Gunmen kill nine people in Iran

Two separate attacks.  Gunmen kill nine people in Iran
Two separate attacks.  Gunmen kill nine people in Iran

Two separate attacks. Gunmen kill nine people in Iran

On Friday, September 30, unarmed citizens were praying at a mosque when security forces fired indiscriminately from a nearby security position. A woman praying with a headscarf was killed by a tear gas canister while several men who were shot and injured were in the same mosque in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province.

On this Friday, now known as “Bloody Friday,” about 66 civilians were killed and more than 100 others injured inside and outside a mosque in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, according to human rights groups.

The victims were Sunnis, a religious minority who make up 12-20% of Iran’s 86 million people, while the shooters were from the forces of a clerical regime long accused of the brutal repression of religious minorities.

The killing of the Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini has sparked protests for weeks

While the Iranian protests are widely seen as a response to the suspicious death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody in Tehran, some of the regime’s most brutal crackdowns have taken place in Sunni-populated areas. VOA.

Abdolhamid Ismail Zahi, a prominent Sunni Iranian cleric and imam of the mosque where the shooting took place, told an envoy of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that “nearly 100 people were martyred, most of them in the mosque, by bullets in hearts and minds,” reads a statement on Ismail’s website.

The cleric said the bloody Friday in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Balochistan province, “was a result of discrimination against the Sunni community,” adding that the region’s Sunni majority had no representation in the provincial government or security forces.

At least 340 people have been killed, including more than 40 teenagers, and more than 15,000 have been imprisoned since protests began across Iran in mid-September, according to human rights monitors.

“The level of brutality used by the regime in Sistan-Balochistan is on a different scale,” Ali Vaez, Iran expert at the International Crisis Group, told VOA.

Part of the ongoing demonstrations and protests in Iran

Fayez said that “Shia tyrants” discourage the general public from joining the protests by severely beating religious minorities in Sistan-Balochistan.

The United Nations, a human rights organization and several countries called on the Iranian authorities to stop the crackdown, release prisoners and respect the right to peaceful protest.

According to the VOA, some Iranian lawmakers have called for the summary execution of all those arrested

An increase in executions

A group of UN human rights experts said in a statement last week: “We call on the Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a means of cracking down on protests, and we reiterate our call for the immediate release of all protesters who have been arbitrarily killed.” exercised their liberty solely for the exercise of their legitimate rights to freedom of thought and expression.” The group also called on Tehran to allow peaceful assemblies and to promote human rights.

But Iran responded to those calls with more death sentences.

Iran sentenced three more protesters to death on Wednesday, raising fears the government will resort to executions to intimidate Iranians into mobilizing against the country’s religious leadership, the newspaper said. Wall Street Journal.

The three unidentified people were convicted of “corruption on earth or war against God” for alleged crimes including killing or injuring security forces, damaging public property and endangering national security, according to the Mizan justice news agency.

Iran is holding large numbers of protesters in prisons

Wednesday’s announcement brings the number of people on death row linked to the recent protests to at least five, according to court data, but dozens more could face similar sentences.

State media reported Wednesday night that two gunmen on two motorcycles opened fire on security forces with Kalashnikov rifles, killing five people.

Iran’s official news agency IRNA said: “The call by opposition and counter-revolutionary groups has been exploited by armed terrorists [مظاهرات] Some people carried out a gun attack.”

State media also broadcast footage of an Islamic seminary being set on fire by rioters. Iran has previously imposed harsh penalties on protesters accused of disturbing public order or even terrorism.

And in late October, Iran accused protesters of setting the stage for a shootout in the southern city of Shiraz that killed 15 people. But ISIS took responsibility for this attack.

Fears that the state will use death sentences to quell protests are exacerbated by President Ibrahim Raisi’s story as a member of a commission that sentenced thousands of suspected opponents to death in the late 1980s after an eight-year war against Iraq, according to the newspaper.

At the time, Amnesty International described decisions about which prisoners to execute as “extremely arbitrary”.

At the end of October, eight protesters were charged with capital crimes. Almost 1,000 charges had been filed in connection with the protests, and public trials before the Revolutionary Court in Tehran were to be expected in the “coming days”, said the Tehran prosecutor at the end of October.

Iranian authorities have labeled the protesters as rebels and accused them of attempting to destabilize the country at the behest of the United States and Israel.

“It is not surprising that the Islamic Republic blames others for its failures,” Fayez told VOA, adding, “Neither the United States nor Israel arrested and killed Mahsa Amini, an event that sparked a collapse that has since many years in progress due to the corruption and mismanagement of the regime itself.” and its tyranny.”

For decades, Iranian women – along with the country’s religious and ethnic minorities – have demanded greater rights, equality and political representation in government, but the regime has mostly responded with executions, prolonged incarcerations and other forms of state-sponsored violence, according to human rights groups.

Between 2014 and 2020, Iranian forces killed more than 1,000 Kurds near the border with Azerbaijan, the US State Department said in its 2020 human rights report on Iran.

There are about 10 million Kurds in Iran, most of whom are Sunnis, but there are also Shia Kurds, Yezidi and Baha’i.

Like the Kurds, the Baloch ethnic minority has long faced discrimination in Iran, according to the VOA.

Iran’s Baluchi, who are predominantly Sunni, have a population of 2 million, most of them in the Sistan-Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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