To quell discontent sparked by the death of a woman in morality police custody, Iranian security forces stepped up their crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in numerous Kurdish cities on Monday, according to social media posts and videos.
Since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iran’s Kurdish region, died on September 16 while being detained for “inappropriate dress,” protests have erupted across Iran, posing one of the most audacious threats to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
Unconfirmed reports on social media indicated that employees at the Abadan and Kangan oil refineries as well as the Bushehr Petrochemical Project had joined in, while university students have largely been at the center of the protests with dozens of campuses on strike.
A call from Reuters requesting comment was not immediately returned by a representative for the oil ministry.
In the Iranian revolution of four decades ago, a mix of large-scale demonstrations, strikes by oil workers, and boycotts by bazaar vendors assisted in elevating the clergy to power.
Authorities and the Kurdish minority have been at odds for a long time, according to human rights organizations; the Islamic Republic disputes this claim.
The armed security forces were heavily present in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj, Saqez, and Divandareh on Monday, according to the human rights organization Hengaw. In protests since Saturday, it was reported that at least five Kurdish citizens had died and more than 150 had been hurt.
Early on Monday, protests were documented in social media videos in dozens of Iranian cities, with violent skirmishes between protesters and riot police in villages and cities around Amini’s native Kurdistan province.
The Revolutionary Guards repeatedly attacked their outposts in neighboring Iraq during the most recent upheaval, which the Iranian government has attributed to a variety of adversaries, including armed Iranian Kurdish rebels.