Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Expand Crackdown As Unrest Escalates

The IRGC started a new round of missile and drone attacks on Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq on Monday.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Expand Crackdown as Unrest Escalates

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is intensifying its attacks on Kurdish areas in Iran and across the border in Iraq in response to anti-government protests that have entered their tenth week.

The IRGC started a new round of missile and drone attacks on Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq on Monday, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported, citing an IRGC statement.

Iran has accused Kurdish political and militant groups of instigating widespread anti-government protests over Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish-Iranian woman who died in police custody in Tehran in September. The groups operate in exile from border towns in northern Iraq. 

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In Iran, at least 419 people have been killed in the protests so far and more than 17,000 arrested, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, that tracks the protests from abroad. At least six people have been sentenced to death for participating in demonstrations, according to state media and the judiciary.

The government last provided an official nationwide death toll on Sept. 24 when it said 41 people had been killed.

On Sunday Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi appointed former IRGC Brigadier General Alireza Fakhraei as governor of Tehran province, ISNA reported on Sunday. It was a move that expands the IGRC’s influence in the capital, where security forces are struggling to quash opposition and unrest. 

In Kurdish provinces in the west of the country there has been a surge in violence and deaths since Nov. 15 after demonstrations to mark the three-year anniversary of previous unrest. 

At least 13 people have been killed by security forces in various Kurdish cities in Iran in the past 24 hours, according to the Hengaw Organization of Human Rights, a Kurdish rights group tracking the protests from Iraq. 

IRGC has also taken full control of the city of Mahabad where it’s been shooting at people in the streets using combat weapons and military-grade bullets, Hengaw said. Heavy restrictions on the Internet and an electricity blackout were hampering efforts to get a clear picture of what’s happening on the ground, the group said in a statement. 

Unverified videos shared on Twitter have shown heavily armored military vehicles driving through residential streets purportedly in the city of Mahabad. There are also videos of dead bodies, gunfire and clashes purportedly in the cities of Piranshahr and Javanrood. None of the social media footage can be verified by Bloomberg.

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