NCRI - The porters in Iran face very high risks for a very low pay. Smuggling is a risky business as it is, but those smuggling trade in Iran are at particularly high risk and there have already been hundreds of deaths.
These “human mules” carry extraordinary loads of goods on their back across the border in the West of the country.
According to ILNA, a semi-official Iranian news agency, a 17 year-old boy is one of the most recent victims. His name is Vahid Dolatkhah and he died at the end of August as a result of an “unnatural” accident. Sources in the country, however, state that he was shot in the chest by Iranian border guards.
Unfortunately this is not the first porter that has died in such circumstances. Border guards and security agents are notorious for being a huge threat to porters.
As well as the threat from border and security officials, the porters are also exposed to great natural risks. They have to travel across some very unpredictable and dangerous terrain, and weather conditions can make the threat even worse.
In the area where they work, porters risk walking into landmines that remain there from the war with Iraq during the eighties.
The porters in Iran are very poor people who see no other way out of the dire poverty they are faced with. Despite the very low pay, they become porters just to be able to survive and look after their families. They are sometimes very young people – as young as only 13, sometimes very old, but even those that are at the prime of their life should not have to struggle with such heavy loads. Men, women and children are all reported to be porters.
Many of the porters are from the Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan provinces, and many come from Kurdish communities.
Last year, there were more than 60 deaths. Forty-two were due to porters being shot by Iran’s border guards and 22 were due to weather or terrain conditions (such as a fall, hypothermia, etc.).
Current estimates state that there are around 70,000 people working as porters in Iran.
The people turn to this job because of the very poor social conditions in their areas. In the country’s Kurdish-populated provinces, the average official unemployment rate is around 20 per cent, but experts believe that the real figure is much higher, in the region of 40 to 50 per cent. This is an extremely worrying situation, but the government ignores it.
Some of the people working as porters are highly educated, but because of a complete lack of investment in the region, as well as the unemployment problems, they have no choice but to traffic goods. The Kurdish community in particular faces many problems because of ethnic and religious discrimination.
Spreading Protests in Different Cities of the Country
On Saturday, September 16, nearly two thousand retired civil servants including teachers from the provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Isfahan, Central, South Khorasan, North Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi, Gilan, Mazandaran, Kermanshah, in protest to their difficult livelihood protested in front of Vahdat Hall in Tehran. They chanted: "Tyranny and oppression is enough, our table is empty", "We do not stand still until we get our rights", "One less embezzlement, our problem is solved". On the banners that were carried by the protesters, it was written: "Rouhani, Rouhani, implement your promises." Police forces surrounded the rally to prevent the spread of the rally.
Hundreds of retired army personnel also protested in front of the office of the mullahs' President, Rouhani, in Tehran. They mocked the deceptive slogans of Rouhani and chanted: "The government of prudence and hope, which hope? Which hope?"
Meanwhile, various cities in the country also witnessed protests by retirees.
In Mashhad and Orumieh, retirees gathered in front of the governorate of the regime in these cities. They carried hand written banners on which it was written: "Your table is colorful, our table is sad," “We do not stand still until we get our rights", "Discrimination till how long?", "Discrimination, leave it behind the law".
In Sari, educators held a protest rally in front of the governor's office building in the city to match their salaries with the staff, according to the frameworks announced by the regime itself. They had banners reading: "The poverty line is our 4 million, our salary is one million", "Every promise that they gave was all hollow." The repressive police forces attacked the protesters, tore up their banners, and attempted to disperse them, but were faced with their resistance.
Following the uprising of the people of Baneh and the protests in other cities in the provinces of Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan in protest to the killing of porters, the clerical regime has intensified repression and arrests, and the interrogation and street arrests in these areas. A number of Revolutionary Guards commanders have left Sanandaj and have gone to the border towns. Revolutionary Guards and police have been sent to Baneh from Sanandaj and Hamedan. A number of armoured vehicles equipped with water cannons have also been sent to the city of Bokan to throw tear gas. The regime has severed or significantly limited communications from Baneh, Marivan, Sardasht, and Piranshahr cities in order to prevent spreading of the news and information, and has arrested a number of social network activists, especially in Baneh.
On Monday, September 11, following a call by a group of porters, workers and businessmen of the border town of Rabt in Western Azerbaijan, to protest the killing of the porters, riot police and plainclothes mercenaries were deployed in this town densely. They were interrogating or following passersby’s with various excuses in order to intimidate the people and prevent their protests.
On September 10, repressive forces arrested several people at a mass gathering in Mahabad. The gathering was held in support of the uprising of Baneh, to protest the killing of poor porters and in solidarity with the protests of other cities in Kurdistan. Protesters in different cities of Kurdistan want to stop the killing of porters.
Load-Porters, Part of the Army of Unemployed
NCRI - Porterage is one of the most common jobs in the border areas, especially in western Iran. Choosing porterage as a job by people in these areas is only due to poverty and poor economic conditions.
Recently, killing of two porters was so criminal that state-owned media were forced to criticize, in the form of Crocodile-tears, the approach of the Revolutionary Guards and the police towards this issue.
The state-run Sharq newspaper affiliated to Rouhani, admitted on 6 September 2017, the fact that porterage itself is "a sign of chronic economic disease of the country,” and that the aspect of this illness among the people living in the borderline is extreme poverty and unemployment, and porterage is also a caused of this situation.
The state-run Jahan-e San’at (World of Industry) also writes in a confession on 6 September 2017, “While the large and organized gangs of smuggling are parading in the country, and these gangs carry around millions of tons of goods easily every day, nobody throws them out. And also whenever the government speaks of the fight against smuggling, it prevents the load-carriers from earning a living.”
In the absence of industrial production, everything is under the discretion and control of a mafia system, as most Iranians live below the poverty line. (AFP)
Revealing the brutal repression of Kurds in Iran
F. Mahmoudi, Special to Al Arabiya EnglishSaturday, 9 September 2017
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the viewpoint of Al Arabiya English.
Acts of brutality against the Kurdish population in Iran is a regular occurrence. For instance, just a few days ago (September 4, 2017), soldiers of Iran’s dreaded Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp of Iran (IRGC) shot dead two porters in cold blood in the western city of Baneh.
In protest against the killings, demonstrations broke out in the Kurdish city and a large number of residents gathered outside the governor’s office on Tuesday (September 5) demanding an end to the ongoing attacks against workers.
According to reports by opposition groups, a number of shops and markets were closed in support of the protests, even as the regime’s security forces clashed with protesters. Video recordings of these clashes have also been released by certain opposition groups.
Khomeini’s repression of Iranian Kurds
The Kurdish workers killed by the IRGC, were porters who made a living by carrying heavy loads on their backs across the border with Iraq and Turkey. Since the overthrow of Shah’s dictatorial regime by a social revolution which was hijacked by Khomeini in 1979, the oppression against Kurds — like other minor communities in Iran — increased dramatically. The living condition of Kurds is reminiscent of the era of slavery because of the rampant poverty, unemployment and injustice.
In August 1979, just five months since the fall of the Shah, Khomeini had ordered a military assault on Iranian Kurdistan. The people of Kurdistan were only demanding basic rights and freedoms for themselves and for all the people of Iran. But Khomeini's response to these demands was a military campaign and the massacre of people. He sent a special judge and Representative Sadeq Khalkhali to Kurdistan to carry out mass executions and send out a gruesome message of coercion.
Khomeini, who was himself the son of an Indian immigrant, called the Kurds separatists and counter-revolutionaries, while they are legitimate Iranian citizens! This was the beginning of his betrayal of the Iranian people, who trusted him without fully knowing him.
People in Western Provinces Continue to Stage Protest Gatherings Against Killing of Porters
Despite all the security measures and obstructions, protests were held in Sanandaj. On some streets, there was a chase between the riot force and the protesters, during which a number of young people were arrested. Reports indicate the arrest of at least 11 young protesters by security forces.
According to reports, a young man's arrest in Ferdowsi Street caused chaos in the protest and led to a clash between security forces and protesters.
The cities of Kurdistan are tense after the protests in Baneh. The people of Baneh are still in strike. Local sources say that routes to Baneh are closed.
Some reports say civil activists had also called for protest demonstrations in Kermanshah, but poor notification and the presence of security forces prevented the demonstration from taking place.
Protest in Sanandaj in solidarity with Baneh uprising
Sept. 7, 2017 - People of Sanandaj demonstrated on Thursday, September 7, 2017 to express solidarity with the Baneh uprising which has been going on for past 3 days protesting the killing of two Kurdish young load carrier by border guards earlier this week.
Residents of a number of other cities including Saqhez, Oshnavia, Sardasht and Naghade have expressed solidarity with the people of Baneh and their uprising against the shooting death of two laborer. They demanded that border guards involved in that shooting be prosecuted and that the shooting and harassment of load-carriers be stopped.
Residents of Baneh clashed with the guards after being confronted by the security forces trying to stop them from demonstrating.
Protests Spread to Different Cities of the Country
with the demonstration of the furious people of Baneh (Kurdistan province), there were protests in Tehran and other cities of the country by various walks of the society.
In Tehran, hundreds of labor activists, drivers of the bus company and other groups of workers, educators and students gathered in front of the regime's parliament calling for the release of Reza Shahabi and other political prisoners. Reza Shahabi, a member of the board of directors of the Bus Company Syndicate, went on hunger strike on August 18 to protest the new frame-up by the judiciary against him and his re-arrest. He is now suffering a dire condition after his hunger strike for a month.
Protests in Iran after Border Guards Kill 2 Kurds
Iranian media are reporting that protesters have demonstrated in a western town where border guards earlier shot dead two Kurdish men.
The unrest happened Tuesday in the city of Baneh, western Iran.
A report by a state television station said five border guards were arrested after the protests with the aim of calming tensions.
Baneh is some 670 kilometers (400 miles) west of the capital, Tehran.Ms. Rajavi's call to the people of Kurdistan and throughout Iran to support and support the people of Baneh
Also, this morning, thousands of the people of Baneh held a protest rally. The angry people went to the governorate from different parts of the city and threw rocks at the governor's building. They demanded the killing of laborers to be stopped.
Killing of laborers is a routine by the anti-human regime of mullahs. Yesterday, two laborers, Heydar Faraji, 21, and Qader Bahrami, 45, were killed with the direct shot by the regime's border guards. Qader Bahrami was married and had four children.
During today’s demonstrations, the repressive forces began to disperse the protesters by storming them and firing tear gas, but the people confronted them and neutralized the tear gas by burning tires.
The mullahs’ regime flew military helicopters over Baneh and attacked the people by bringing anti-riot criminal guards to the scene, but they were not able to prevent the anger of the people.
In the course of the demonstration, a number of people were injured and more were arrested. It is said that the criminal governor of Baneh has escaped from the anger of the people and has hidden in an unknown location.
Maryam Rajavi, offered her condolences to the families of the laborers, saluted the people of Baneh and their brave demonstrations, and called on the courageous and freedom-loving people of Kurdistan and other Iranian cities to support the people of Baneh and the toiling laborers. The laborers are being killed by the Revolutionary Guards while according to the regime officials, Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards and other intelligence and security agencies of the clerical regime are the main controllers of smuggling in the country that, according to the regime authorities, amounts to $25 billion a year.
In a press conference in London on March 7, 2017, the Iranian Resistance unveiled 90 piers, i.e. about 45 percent of the country's total piers, used for large-scale smuggling, and are mainly at the disposal of the IRGC.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
September 5, 2017
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