Over the last weeks there were some riots in Iran. At first there were protest about the falsely reported death of a young women, Mahsa Amini, who had suddenly collapsed (video) while waiting in a police station. She died a few days later. Mahsa Amini had previously had brain surgery and her collapse and death were related to that, not to police action.
The protests by mostly women, and supported by a well known U.S. government employee, were soon taken over by separatist groups who turned them into riots. This especially in the northwestern Kurdish border region and the southeastern Baloch region. These groups are know to have foreign support. Police stations were attacked, cars were set on fire and night riots set off. In total some 24 policemen and some 100 protesters died.
It is not the first time that such riots are happening in Iran. The 2007 riots were launched after peaceful protests against a petrol price increase and the 2017 riots after peaceful protests over general economic hardship. Each time the protests were taken over by foreign directed groups and ended in serious riots that caused some death. After a month or two the situations calmed down.
Something similar is happening now.
As usual the riots have ‘western’ media support, most notoriously from the New York Times. Here is a fine example:
‘It Was a Massacre’: How Security Forces Cracked Down in Southeastern Iran
A New York Times analysis of witness testimony and videos reveals a bloody scene that unfolded last month in Zahedan during Friday Prayer, with mats as stretchers and bodies piled in cars.
Some of the wounded tried to crawl away to escape the gunfire. Others bled to death on prayer mats as people tried to drag them to safety.But the snipers and officers kept pulling their triggers, firing bullet after bullet into men and young boys at a worship area where Friday Prayer had been underway.
That sounds as if the police were shooting at will and unprovoked. But some details strewn deeper throughout the story paint a very different picture. If one cuts out the propaganda trash about some video scenes and anonymous Iranian voices making unverifiable claims one can take a less obstructed look at the real situation:
The horrific scene unfolded on Sept. 30 in Zahedan, a city in southeastern Iran that is home to the ethnic Baluch minority, after a small group of worshipers emerged from the Great Mosalla prayer complex to confront security forces posted at a police station across the street.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite branch of the armed forces, has confirmed that its forces were present in Zahedan, and that six of its members were killed that day, including its regional intelligence chief, Col. Ali Mousavi, and officers from the feared Basij militia. They have denied firing on civilians.Witnesses said that a number of Iranian security officers were killed, but that they died later during street clashes.
The protesters chanted antigovernment slogans and threw rocks at the officers, prompting the security forces to fire indiscriminately into the crowd, according to witnesses. As the demonstrators scattered, the gunshots stalked their retreat back toward the complex, where thousands were still praying
But according to the cleric and two other witnesses, a group of 10 to 15 young worshipers left the complex before prayers had concluded to gather outside the police station.
A video verified by The Times shows some of the protesters throwing rocks at the police station, where security forces stood on the roof, as gunshots are heard. Witnesses said that some protesters hurled Molotov cocktails.
The forces responded with gunfire, witnesses said.
One video verified by The Times shows two men who appear to be in uniform standing alongside another man on the roof of the police station firing what seems to be a pump-action shotgun in the direction of the mosque.
As the day went on, more civilians swarmed into the streets as they became aware of the violence taking place in the city.
They were met with Persian-speaking security forces, in traditional Baluch clothing, who emerged from cars before firing on the protesters, some of whom fought back with Molotov cocktails and bullets, according to witnesses. Most of the clashes took place on a street near the Makki mosque where hundreds had gathered.
The riots in Zahedan were organized by some well resourced group, likely financed by this or that U.S. government program:
The day before the shootings in Zahedan, protesters began calling for a “broad uprising” in “all of the towns of Baluchestan,” as an act of “solidarity with Kurdistan and in protest of the rape of the Baluch girl,” according to a poster advertising the demonstrations. The Kurdistan region of Iran has also seen major protests in recent weeks and has been subject to attacks by government forces.
The alleged ‘rape of the Baloch girl’ is unconfirmed and likely just another false accusation.
To sum it up:
A group of well organized and armed provocateurs attacked policemen and tried to set a police station on fire. The police did not agree with that. It used pump-action shotguns with can be used with either birdshot or anti-riot ammunition. More people came. Some of them had guns.
Who actually shot the people and the IRGC men who died is unexplained. Who the alleged ‘snipers’ were is also unexplained. The Times presumes that they were police but provides no evidence for that conclusion. Like during the 2014 Maidan riots the snipers might have been provocateurs hired to shot at both sides, protesters and policemen.
Zahedan is near the at times unruly border with Pakistan. That is why IRGC and other security forces are stationed there.
I find this sentence somewhat funny:
They were met with Persian-speaking security forces, in traditional Baluch clothing, …
Is this supposed to be sinister?
While Baloch people often speak Balochi, it is a local Iranian dialect. Persian (Farsi) is the official government language of Iran and taught in all schools. That some ‘Persian-speaking’ security forces were wearing the usual local civil clothing (loose long shirts without buttons) should not astonish anyone. Such undercover tactics are used all over the world.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is not amused about being lectured by ‘western’ officials about police behavior during armed riots:
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has underscored that Iran is the anchor of stability and security in the region and not the land of velvet or colorful coup, slamming foreign intervention by some Western countries in Iran.In a phone call with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, the Iranian foreign minister said that, “the death of the late Mahsa Amini is a painful for all of us,” however, he pointed out that this issue is just regarded as a pretext for (intervention of) some western authorities.
“Peaceful demands are different from riots, murders, arson, and terrorist operations,” he pointed out.
On the same topic, the Iranian FM also questioned “Who would believe that the death of a girl is so important to Westerners? If so, what did they do to the hundreds of thousands of martyrs and dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon? They wanted to start a sectarian war in Iran.”
The Iranian FM said that for instance, in Zahedan, “there was no slogan or photo of Mahsa, and a known terrorist group tried to start a conflict between Shias and Sunnis, and they claimed responsibility for it. (The terrorist groups) did the same in part of Kurdistan, but the insight of Sunni scholars and people foiled their attempts.”
The riots have died down. The CIA will prepare the separatist groups it finances for another round to be launched when the next random reason for some peaceful protest can be found to hide in. Iran is by now well aware of this tactic and its security forces are trained to defend against such nonsense.
The Biden administration will use the Iranian police action against rioters to justify that it is breaking its election promise to reenter the nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. will not be happy about the long term consequences of that failure.