[An Iranian porter explains why he has to do this danger job to earn a living. Hundreds of these porters who do this risky business are killed every year, while carrying heavy loads across border with Iraq and Turkey.]
[Mule owner, 23 years old, has been porter for 8 years]
–From this side, we don’t carry anything. From there, we bring dried fruits, second-hand clothes, cigarettes, and such things. By God I swear that if my income was 1 million Tomans [$250] per months, I wouldn’t do this. Because my life and the life of this mule [is in danger]. I’d rather they arrest me than beat my mule. Because I had borrowed money for this. OK, I am a smuggler and I am guilty. But what has this mule done? Why do you kill it? For what crime? Why do you kill me? You seize the shipment, and you take it. What do you have to do with me? Crossing the border is banned, and crossing the border is bad for the country’s economy. OK. I understand that it is harmful for the economy. But what should we do? Am I not from Iran? Don’t I have any rights in this land? Create jobs for us, then we won’t cross the border. But I swear to God that if they kill 3 of us every night, we still have to cross the border.
[Every year, hundreds of porters lose their lives.]