They were unarmed and praying in a mosque when security forces opened fire indiscriminately from a nearby guard post. One woman was killed by a tear gas grenade while praying in a full Islamic hijab.
About 66 civilians were massacred inside and outside a mosque in Iran’s Sistan-Baltistan province, and more than 100 were injured, according to human rights groups.
The victims are Sunnis, a religious minority who make up between 12% and 20% of Iran’s 86 million population, and the shooters have long been accused of brutally suppressing religious minorities. It was the armed forces of the Shiite theocratic regime.
Iran’s earthquake protests have been widely reported as a response to the suspicious death of Murthy Amini, a young woman in police custody in Tehran, but some of the regime’s most brutal crackdowns have been directed at the Sunni It is held in areas where sects live.
Even Amini, a woman who has posthumously become a symbol of the Iranian protests, was from a Sunni tribe and was allegedly tortured for not wearing the hijab properly when she visited Tehran. there is
“Nearly 100 ordinary people were martyred, most of them inside the mosque, with bullets in their hearts and heads,” said a prominent Sunni cleric, whose Sept. 30 shooting took place. Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, leader of the broken mosque, told the envoy of Iran’s supreme leader. According to a statement on Isameelzahi’s website, Sunday’s leader.
Bloody Friday in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, “is the result of discrimination against the Sunni community,” a cleric said, with the majority Sunni in the area being represented in the provincial government and security forces. added that he does not have
At least 340 people, including more than 40 teenagers, have been killed and more than 15,000 imprisoned since nationwide protests in Iran began in mid-September, according to the Human Rights Observer.
As if unhappy with the violence by state security forces, some Iranian lawmakers are calling for the summary execution of all detainees.
“The extent of the atrocities the regime has unfolded in Sistan Baluchistan varies in scale,” Ali Baez, an expert on Iran affairs at the International Crisis Group, told VOA.
By lashing out at religious minorities in Sistan-Baluchistan, the Shia dictator is dissuading the wider public from joining the protests, Vaez said.
The United Nations, human rights groups and several countries have called on Iranian authorities to end the crackdown, release prisoners and respect the right to peaceful protest.
“We have asked the Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a tool to quell protests and arbitrarily deprive them of their liberties for the sole reason of exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression. We reiterate our call for the immediate release of all protesters,” a group of human rights experts affiliated with the United Nations said in a statement last week. The group also called on Tehran to allow peaceful assembly and the promotion of human rights.
“The initial response was bloody,” Barbara Slavin, an expert on Iran affairs at the Atlantic Council, told VOA. “Although authorities have since accepted police responsibility for the high death toll on September 30 and have tried to mitigate the damage, tensions remain very high.”
Iranian officials called the protesters riotists and accused them of trying to destabilize the country at the behest of the United States and Israel.
The U.S. government has publicly expressed support for the protesters, but has not confirmed it will provide logistics, information, or financial support.
“It is natural for the Islamic Republic to blame others for its own failures,” Baez said. Corruption, mismanagement, authoritarianism. ”
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 largely ruled out executions, lengthy detentions, and more. , and other forms of state-sponsored violence. rights group.
Between 2014 and 2020, Iranian forces killed more than 1,000 Kurdish couriers 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 also a small number of Shiites, Yazidis, and Baha’is.
Like the Kurds, the Baluchi minority has long been discriminated against in Iran. Primarily Sunni, his two million powerful Baluchi tribe of Iran live primarily in Sistan his Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Most of society is fed up with the Islamic Republic,” Baez said. “But of course, these grievances run deeper in the border provinces where ethnic minorities live in the country.”
Iran’s leaders boast that the “riot” has been effectively stopped, but protests continue amid growing internal dissatisfaction with the regime.
“In the short term we fear more crackdowns, but in the long term we are optimistic that change will occur and will continue,” said Slavin of the Atlantic Council.