Iran toughens crackdown as some oil workers join protests

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Iranian security forces intensified a crackdown on anti-government protests in several Kurdish cities on Monday, social media posts and videos showed, pressing efforts to quell unrest ignited by the death of a woman in morality police custody.

Protests have swept Iran since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iran’s Kurdish region, died on Sept. 16 while being held for “inappropriate attire”, marking one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

While university students have played a pivotal role in the protests with dozens of universities on strike, unconfirmed reports on social media showed workers at Abadan and Kangan oil refineries and the Bushehr Petrochemical Project had joined in.

A combination of mass protests and strikes by oil workers and Bazaar merchants helped to sweep the clergy to power in the Iranian revolution four decades ago. Tensions have been especially high between authorities and the Kurdish minority which human rights groups say has long been oppressed.

Human rights group Hengaw reported a heavy presence of armed security forces in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj, Saqez and Divandareh on Monday. It said at least five Kurdish residents were killed and over 150 injured in protests since Saturday.—Agencies

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