Iranian border forces have continued to kill porters (kolbars) who carry heavy loads across the mountain ranges between Iran and Iraq, with at least 24 being shot dead since April and a reported 79 being killed in the past year.
In the five days between August 13 and 18, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) killed one porter, wounded eight, and arrested three in Nowsud, Baneh, and Urmia. The murdered porter was named as Seraj Ahmadi, 37.
Of course, the above figures don’t account for accidental deaths, such as falling from cliffs, freezing to death, or being buried in avalanches.
The porters, who live in deprived areas where the dire economic status leaves them unable to get a job even though many of them have degrees, often carry out this physically taxing job because they have no other option to support their families.
They are forced to take these jobs because the regime’s institutionalized corruption and theft of the Iranian people’s money have deprived them of their opportunities and impoverished them, along with 80% of the county. Porters are met with brutality by the regime, who consider this a disruption to their smuggling operations.
This brutality has not gone unnoticed. In August, 80 international labor and trade unions issued a statement, entitled “Porters should not be forgotten”, to condemn the regime for the murder of the porters as well as other anti-labor policies.
At the same time, Iranians on social media began a campaign with the hashtag #don’t_kill_porters, which received coverage all over the world and even in the Iranian state media, although they dismissed the justified anger as a “deviltry by foreign elements and dissidents”.
In July, ten residents of Baneh were sentenced to 30 months in prison and 250 lashes in total for a peaceful rally in 2017 to protest the killing of two porters.
It’s not just porters that the regime targets. Every day, there are reports of people being killed by the IRGC and the State Security Forces merely for carrying the amount of water or fuel needed to cover their needs.
The regime oppresses the people, pushing them into poverty and then killing them, all while spending billions of dollars to support terrorist groups or acts across the world. The Iranian people have been clear that they do not support this. In their November uprising, they chanted “No to Lebanon, no to Gaza, my life for Iran”.
Source » iranfocus