This news bulletin from ‘Iran International’, an independent Farsi-language TV station based in London, reports on the protests by Iranian Kurds over the latest fatal shooting by Iranian regime forces of two Kurdish border porters carrying luggage across the mountainous Iran-Iraq border.
Reporting for Iran International, the correspondent Saman Rasoul Pur, says: “Here in Baneh city in [Iran’s] Kurdistan province, angry protesters have been gathering this morning in front of the city governor’s building to protest at the killing of these two border porters; the two men, one aged 21 and the other a 41-year-old, were also residents of the rural municipality. According to the representative of Baneh and Saqez in the parliament, armed border forces targeted these two porters and killed them. The presence of the Iranian security forces was not the end of this gathering [the demonstration] which continued with the exchange of tear gas and stone-throwing between the two sides. In this regard, reports have been published claiming the arrests of several protesters. It’s said that part of the Baneh Bazaar was closed down in solidarity with the protesters. The spokesman for the Iranian government said that a government committee will follow up the case of the killing of these two porters.
Mohammad Bagher Nobakht Haghighi [the government spokesman] also said that this case should be investigated, asking why a citizen in the rural municipality had to work as a back-carrier. The Council of Ministers last week agreed on a proposal package, which reportedly stated that border porters within a specified radius would enjoy discounted customs fees. In addition to this, the creation of more border markets is amongst the programs which the government has said are on the agenda.
Critics say, however, that unemployment, poverty, and lack of development in the border regions require more radical solutions. The Iranian Supreme Leader has more implicitly criticized the killing of the border porters.”
The bulletin then shows an excerpt from a speech by Khamenei, in which he says: “What I mean by porters is not that weak Balochi porter who goes over there to bring something with his own money back to this side [of the border]; these things are nothing, they’re unimportant. If there’s no violence against them, there is no problem.”
The reporter then concludes his report, saying: “Yet now, since the protesters took to the streets and even the government and the leader have expressed displeasure at the ill-treatment of border porters, there should be an answer to this question for the forces that shower the porters with bullets: where do these forces stand in this equation?
Saman Rasoul Pur, Iran International.”