Two Iranian fuel porters have been killed by security forces in the past week, while three others, including a child, were injured in arbitrary shootings.
In Mirjaveh, south-eastern Iran, on March 8, the Iranian police began shooting at a car that was driving away, causing the car to overturn. The crash killed fuel porter Attallah Gazouie and seriously wounded his father Mazar, with reports circulating that he’s in a coma.
On March 7, in Minab, the police also shot at the car of fuel porter Ahmad Qasemi, who died because of the seriousness of his injuries.
On March 6, 16-year-old Mehdi Kolahizadeh Mameghani was shot by police in East Azerbaijan Province, north-western Iran. An informed source told the Human Rights News Agency that police had stopped Mameghani and asked for his license, but because the boy was young and scared over not having a drivers’ license, he drove off.
The police fired three shots before the car stopped and now doctors at the Shohada Hospital in Tabriz are worried that Mameghani may never walk normally again.
The previous day, police opened fire on border porter Hojat Ghezavat without warning in Kermanshah, western Iran. Ghezavat was taken to the hospital.
The Iranian government has a long history of arbitrarily shooting and killing porters carrying goods across the borders. In fact, it’s something that happens almost daily, with the authorities claiming that they are cracking down on smuggling.
But the truth is that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) control a major smuggling network and they actually want to stop people from taking away business from them.
The border porters in Iran carry heavy loads across mountainous terrain on their backs for little money. They wouldn’t do all this, risking not just murder at the hands of Iranian police, but also avalanches, falls, hyperthermia, and hypothermia, if they weren’t desperate.
There are so few jobs there that they have no choice if they want to continue putting food on the table. This is a direct consequence of the Iranian’s 42-year corruption binge, whereby Iranians in border provinces face unrivalled unemployment.
The 2020 report by a human rights group stated that at least 204 Iranians were directly or indirectly killed or wounded by state security forces that year alone, with 74 killed – including 36 border porters, 5 fuel carriers and 33 other citizens – and 130 injured. How can this continue to happen without consequence?