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Furious Iran launches deadly cross-border drone attack in Iraq targeting Kurdish opposition groups it blames for stoking wave of violent Mahsa Amini riots
- Iran has launched missiles and drone strikes into Iraq, killing nine people
- Dozens of civilians have already been killed in Iran in clashes with riot officers
- Protests sparked on September 16 when Mahsa Amini died after a violent arrest
- She was arrested by Iran’s morality police over the way she wore her hijab
Iran has launched missiles and drone strikes across the border into Iraq’s Kurdistan region – killing nine people.
The attack comes after the Iranian regime accused Kurdish militias there of stoking unrest that has rocked the Islamic republic.
Dozens of protestors have been killed in demonstrations following the death of Masha Amini, who was killed after being violently arrested in Tehran for breaching Iran’s strict rules on the hijab.
Protests were held for the twelfth night in a row yesterday, despite internet restrictions designed to stop gatherings and prevent images of the unrest from being published.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused Iraq-based Kurdish groups of ‘attacking and infiltrating Iran from the northwest of the country to sow insecurity and riots and spread unrest’.
A barrage of missiles and drones killed nine and wounded 32, according to Iraqi Kurdistan authorities.
A senior Kurdish official told AFP there were ‘civilians among the casualties’.
A picture obtained by AFP outside Iran, on Sept. 21, 2022, shows Iranian demonstrators taking to the streets of the capital Tehran during a protest for Mahsa Amini, days after she died in police custody
The Islamic Republic has shut down the Internet in Tehran, making it difficult to obtain pictures of the riots
Mahsa Amini, 22, poses in an undated photo. She died on September 16 after three days in coma following a violent arrest and treatment at the hands of Iran’s so-called morality police
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is pictured during a cabinet meeting in the capital Tehran on September 28, 2022. UN general secretary Antonio Guterres reportedly called on Raisi to avoid the use of ‘disproportionate force’ on protestors
In Baghdad, Iraq’s federal government summoned the Iranian ambassador over the strikes, while the UN mission in Iraq condemned the attack, saying ‘rocket diplomacy is a reckless act with devastating consequences’.
The United States said it ‘strongly condemns’ Iran’s deadly strikes in Iraqi Kurdistan and warned against further attacks.
‘We stand with the people and government of Iraq in the face of these brazen attacks on their sovereignty,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, called on Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi not to use ‘disproportionate force’ against protesters.
Amini had been visiting Tehran with her family on September 12 when she encountered Iran’s notorious ‘Guidance Patrol’ – widely referred to as the morality police – and died after a ‘violent blow to the head’.
The woman was arrested along with her brother and female relatives after leaving an underground station despite being ‘dressed normally’, one of Amini’s cousins said.
‘The police officer told (her brother), ”We are going to take her in, instil the rules in her and teach her how to wear the hijab and how to dress”,’ the cousin said.
‘Woman, Life, Freedom!’ has been the rallying cry in the protests since Amini’s death as women have burned their headscarves in bonfires or symbolically cut off their hair, cheered on by crowds.
But Iranian riot police have been deployed in their droves to force protestors to abate.
One clip obtained and shared by Radio Farda – a US-funded Persian station based in Prague – showed officers in black body armour shooting up at apartment windows in Tehran’s Ekbatan Town, one of dozens of places demonstrations have erupted.
‘We are increasingly concerned about reports of rising fatalities, including women and children, related to the protests,’ the UN chief’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Fars news agency said Tuesday ‘around 60’ people had been killed since Amini’s death on September 16, up from the official toll of 41 authorities reported on Saturday.
But the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said the crackdown has killed at least 76 people.
More than 1,200 arrests, mostly of activists, lawyers and journalists, have been made by Iranian police since protests began, according to authorities, after Iranian judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei stressed ‘the need for decisive action without leniency’ against any who are seen to be instigating protests.
Anti-regime protestors pictured setting fires in Tehran on September 19, 2022
Women around the world have rallied in solidarity protests (protests in front of Iranian embassy in Madrid)
Police try to manage protestors gathered outside the Islamic Centre of England in Maida Vale, London, on Sunday
Protesters clash during demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in London, Britain September 25, 2022
Attempts by the Iranian authorities to limit the protests has drawn condemnation from around the world.
Tensions with Western powers have grown this week, with Germany summoning the Iranian ambassador, Canada announcing sanctions and Tehran calling in the British and Norwegian envoys.
On Tuesday, US think-tank Freedom House joined the chorus, calling for ‘other governments to stand with these courageous protesters and hold Iranian officials to account for their abuses’.
Spain on Wednesday summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its ‘objection over the repression of the protests and the violation of women’s rights’.
Meanwhile, the son of Iran’s late shah hailed the protests as a landmark revolution by women and urged the world to add even more pressure on the current clerical leadership.
Reza Pahlavi, whose father was toppled in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, called for greater preparation for a future Iranian system that is secular and democratic.
‘It is truly in modern times, in my opinion, the first revolution for the women, by the women, with the support of the Iranian men, sons, brothers and fathers,’ said Pahlavi, who lives in exile in the US.
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