Fears grow over reports that Iran is massacring Kurds in Sanandaj

Recent reports say that Iran has dispatched masses of security forces to Sanandaj and that there are fears that people are being massacred.

PROTESTERS DEMONSTRATE in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in August 2016 against the execution by Iran of up to 20 Kurds suspected of attacking security forces.  (photo credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS)
PROTESTERS DEMONSTRATE in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in August 2016 against the execution by Iran of up to 20 Kurds suspected of attacking security forces.
(photo credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS)

Video posts and other sources say that Iran’s regime is cracking down heavily on protests in the Kurdistan region of Iran. The protests over the killing of Mahsa Amini began in Kurdish areas because Amini was Kurdish and Kurds have long been suppressed in Iran.

Now, the protests have spread throughout Iran. However, the Iranian regime appears to be more careful about outright suppression and mass killing in Tehran and Farsi-speaking areas; it doesn’t want the center to rebel. Iran’s regime is instead focusing on massacring people in Baloch province and also in the Kurdistan region. 

Recent reports say that Iran has dispatched masses of security forces to Sanandaj and that there are fears that people are being massacred. Amnesty International has said that it “is alarmed by the crackdown on protests in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, amid reports of security forces using firearms and firing teargas indiscriminately, including into people’s homes.” 

Sources say the city has become a war zone and is cut off. This has been the case for weeks as many people in the Kurdistan region say they cannot reach their relatives and the Iranian regime has tried to cut off communications, especially the internet.

This is in contrast to Tehran, as the hand of the Iranian regime appears to be targeting Kurds in the country with extreme violence.

 FILE PHOTO: Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Istanbul, Turkey, October 2, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya/File Photo) FILE PHOTO: Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Istanbul, Turkey, October 2, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya/File Photo)

Kurdish towns fully clear of Iran's IRGC

This comes after the first weeks of the protests in September when some Kurdish towns appeared to be fully clear of Iran’s IRGC and security forces. Iran retaliated with massive missile, drone and artillery attacks on Kurdish dissidents who live in Iraq. This included attacks on the Komala party, PAK and PKDI.  

The numerous reports posted online, including video, say that Sanandaj has become a “war zone.” People have posted photos of the protests and security forces arriving on motorcycles. Some say that there have been shooting in people's homes and gun battles in the streets.

It is not clear if only the security forces have firearms, or if there is also resistance within the city.

Activists say there are horrific photos of people killed in the city. Other images show streets on fire as protesters apparently blocked roads, and rubble strewn around. Locals say the city has been bombarded and there are videos of bodies in the streets.

It is hard to confirm many of these reports, but after Iranian forces massacred people in Zahedan in the Balochistan region of Iran, it is plausible the regime is using extreme measures against minority Kurds. Sources say that lack of contact with family members has left many concerned for their safety.

With the world focused on Ukraine and other issues, it is not clear if Iran’s regime is deterred from massacring people.