Iran has hurled missiles and drone strikes across the border into Iraq’s Kurdistan region – killing nine people. The raid comes after the Iranian regime accused Kurdish militias there of stoking turmoil that has rocked the Islamic republic. Dozens of protestors have been killed in demonstrations following the death of Masha Amini, who was killed after being violently apprehended in Tehran for breaching Iran’s strict rules on the hijab.
Protests were held for the twelfth night in a row yesterday, despite internet restrictions designed to stop gatherings and contain images of the unrest from being published.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused Iraq-based Kurdish groups of ‘attacking and infiltrating Iran from the northwest of the country to sow insecurity and riots and spread unrest’. According to Iraqi Kurdistan authorities, “A barrage of missiles and drones killed 9 and wounded 32“. A senior Kurdish official told our associate AFP that there were ‘civilians among the casualties’.
In Baghdad, Iraq’s federal government summoned the Iranian ambassador over the strikes, while the UN mission in Iraq condemned the attack, saying, “rocket diplomacy is a reckless act with devastating consequences”.
The United States said it ‘strongly condemns’ Iran’s deadly strikes in Iraqi Kurdistan and warned against further attacks.
‘We stand with the people and government of Iraq in the face of these brazen attacks on their sovereignty,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, called on Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi not to use disproportionate force against protesters.
Amini had been visiting Tehran with her family on September 12 when she encountered Iran’s notorious ‘Guidance Patrol’ – widely referred to as the morality police – and died after a violent blow to the head.
The woman was arrested along with her brother and female relatives after leaving an underground station despite being ‘dressed normally’, one of Amini’s cousins said.
“Woman, Life, Freedom!” has been the rallying cry in the protests since Amini’s death as women have burned their headscarves in bonfires or symbolically cut off their hair, cheered on by crowds.
But Iranian riot police have been deployed in their droves to force protestors to abate.
One clip obtained and shared by Radio Farda – a US-funded Persian station based in Prague – showed officers in black body armor shooting up at apartment windows in Tehran’s Ekbatan Town, one of the dozens of places demonstrations have erupted.
“We are increasingly concerned about reports of rising fatalities, including women and children, related to the protests,” the UN chief’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Fars news agency said Tuesday that around 60′ people had been killed since Amini’s death on September 16, up from the official toll of 41 authorities reported on Saturday.
But the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said the crackdown has killed at least 76 people.
More than 1,200 arrests, mostly of activists, lawyers, and journalists, have been made by Iranian police since the protests began, according to authorities, after Iranian judiciary chief, Gholam hossein Mohseni Ejei stressed ‘the need for decisive action without leniency’ against any who are seen to be instigating protests.
Attempts by the Iranian authorities to limit the protests have drawn condemnation from around the world.
Tensions with Western powers have grown this week, with Germany summoning the Iranian ambassador, Canada announcing sanctions, and Tehran calling in the British and Norwegian envoys.
The condition of women in Iran has been miserable due to draconian Hijab Rules and cruel Hijab Police.
Spain on Wednesday summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its “objection to the repression of the protests and the violation of women’s rights”.
Meanwhile, the son of Iran’s late shah hailed the protests as a landmark revolution by women and urged the world to add even more pressure on the current clerical leadership.
Reza Pahlavi, whose father was toppled in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, called for greater preparation for a future Iranian system that is secular and democratic.