Iranian forces intensify crackdown on Kurdish regions

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Iranian security forces stepped up their crackdown on Kurdish regions of the country overnight, deploying shock troops, as authorities pursued their deadly suppression of nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody.

Nearly four weeks after Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, was detained in Tehran for “inappropriate attire,” the protests show no sign of abating in a bold challenge to Iran’s clerical rulers, even if the unrest does not seem close to toppling them.

The unrest has underlined pent-up frustrations over freedoms and rights in Iran, with many women joining in. The deaths of several teenaged girls reportedly killed while demonstrating have becoming a rally cry for more protests. Iran deployed members of the Basij militia, troops which have been at the forefront of repressing popular unrest, in Kurdish areas where seven people were killed in protests overnight.

Videos on social media which Reuters could not verify showed what appeared to be Basij beating protesters in Kurdish areas. Two sources in Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan province, told Reuters that Basij members, along with riot police, were attacking demonstrators.

A witness told Reuters hundreds of riot police and Basij forces have been transferred from other provinces to Kurdistan to confront protesters. “A few days ago some Basij members from Sanandaj and Baneh refused to follow orders and shoot the people,” said the witness.—Reuters

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