Rouhani’s speech in the earthquake-stricken Kurdish region of Iran, one of the poorest areas in the country, where Monday’s earthquake killed over 500 people, sparked outrage and protests on Tuesday when he attempted to praise the regime’s infamous Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] and Basiji thugs for their “help” for the people.
Rouhani told the crowd who gathered to see him as he visited the earthquake zone, “We are praying from the greatest God to [help] all of those who were injured in this incident. We thank the dear people of this province and all over Iran because you stood together and helped each other. You people were the first one who began helping your brothers and sisters. And then the relief forces stood next to you, as well as Government Forces – the Armed Forces – the Army Forces – the IRGC and Basij forces and Red Crescent”.
At the mention of the IRGC and Basiji, the local people began shouting and protesting at Rouhani, condemning him for claiming that the IRGC was helping the people, with regime forces sharply telling the protesters to be quiet and not to disrupt Rouhani’s speech; this failed to quell the protester’ anger.
At the conclusion of his speech, Rouhani said, “Everyone was with you and will be with you, and the government will provide all the services to you,” although this did not seem to convince or placate the angry crowd.
Kurdish activists and dissidents are persecuted and routinely executed by the regime on false pretexts and charges such as “enmity to God.” Iran has the second highest per capita execution rate globally after China.