Iran accused of using live fire, heavy weapons to crush protests

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JEDDAH: Iranian security forces on Monday were using heavy weapons to suppress protests in Kurdish-populated regions in Iran’s west, intensifying a crackdown that has killed a dozen people over the last 24 hours, rights groups said.
The Kurdish-populated provinces of western and northwestern Iran have been major hubs of protest since the onset of the movement sparked by the death in September of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by morality police in Tehran.
There have been particularly intense anti-regime demonstrations in several towns in the last few days, largely sparked by the funerals of people said to have been killed by the security forces in previous protests.
The Norway-based Hengaw rights group said Iranian forces had shelled the cities of Piranshahr, Marivan and Javanroud, posting videos with the thud of heavy weaponry and sound of live gunfire.
It said 13 people had been killed in the region by the security forces over the last 24 hours, including seven in Javanroud, four in Piranshahr and two more in other locations.
Among six people killed by fire from the security forces on Sunday was 16-year-old Karwan Ghader Shokri, Hengaw said.
Another man was killed when security forces fired on crowds as the teenager’s body was being brought to the mosque, it added.
The latest violence came amid continued concern over the situation in Mahabad.
Activists warn Iran was planning to use capital punishment as a means to quell the protest movement by spreading a climate of fear in the population.
Amnesty said the authorities’ pursuit of the death penalty is “designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising … and deter others from joining the movement.”
The strategy aims to “instill fear among the public,” it added, condemning a “chilling escalation in the use of the death penalty as a tool of political repression and the systematic violation of fair trial rights in Iran.”
Iraq condemned attacks on its northern Kurdistan region.

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