At least 13 killed as Iranian security forces fire on protesters

The latest violence comes more than two months into a nationwide movement against the Tehran regime

Iranian security forces clash with crowds near the grave of Nika Shahkarami, 16, outside the western city of Khorramabad last month. The teenager was reportedly killed during protests over the death of Mahsa Amini. AFP
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At least 13 people have been killed in the Kurdish region of Iran as the security forces use live ammunition to quell anti-government demonstrations.

On Monday, heavy gunfire was reported in Mahabad, a Kurdish-majority city in western Iran where columns of security forces were seen entering the town.

Kurdish rights group Hengaw said that 13 people died within a 24-hour period when heavy weapons were turned on protesters.

Among six people killed by gunfire in one incident on Sunday was Karwan Ghader Shokri, 16.

Later, a man was killed when the security forces fired on crowds as the teenager's body was being brought to a mosque, Hengaw said.

The latest violence comes more than two months into a nationwide protest movement that has led to the deaths of 400 civilians and up to 50 members of the security forces.

Germany has asked the UN to adopt a resolution calling on Iran to end the violence. There is to be a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.

Iran’s security forces have heavily reinforced the cities of Piranshahr, Marivan and Javanroud, all in the Kurdish region. These are cities where thousands of people have taken to the streets since September 16, following the death of Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

Ms Amini’s death in police custody sparked protests across the country, which led to national strikes, rioting and a major security crackdown.

Some analysts have said the recent scenes — including footage of thousands of demonstrators gathered to condemn the government in several cities — are reminiscent of the 1979 revolution.

At the time, a broad coalition of groups including communists, Kurds and Islamists united to overthrow the monarchy. Islamists under the cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini then succeeded in dominating the revolution, installing theocratic rule.

However, few believe the current unrest will develop into a full-scale attempt to overthrow the government, in part because the regime has built deep networks of support and possesses a strong domestic security force known as the Basij, which has been instrumental in security crackdowns.

Updated: June 12, 2023, 8:14 AM