NewsSpecial WireIran’s Kurds go on strike

Iran’s Kurds go on strike

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ImageIran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 23 – Shops remained closed throughout the day on Tuesday in cities in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, Iran Focus has learnt.

Iran Focus

ImageTehran, Jun. 23 – Shops remained closed throughout the day on Tuesday in cities in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, Iran Focus has learnt.

Two separate sources have confirmed that Kurdish shop-owners went on strike on Tuesday in protest to a major crackdown on anti- government protests in Tehran and other parts of the country.

In Saqqez, which has a majority Kurdish population, more than 80 percent of shops remained closed.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) warned on Monday it would unleash its wrath on anyone breaking a government ban on demonstrations. It ordered demonstrators to "end the sabotage and rioting activities" and said their resistance is a "conspiracy" against Iran.

In a statement it warned demonstrators to "be prepared for a resolution and revolutionary confrontation with the IRGC, Bassij and other security forces". The hard-line Bassij militia is a paramilitary force that acts as the clerical regime’s storm troopers to put down anti-government demonstrations.

Up to a million people took part in anti-government rallies in Tehran and other major cities last week, protesting the re-appointment of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following the 12 June presidential election contest which they believe was rigged. Iran does not allow UN staff to monitor its elections.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday rallied behind Ahmadinejad and demanded protestors stop their action. “You will be responsible for your own actions”, he said.

Despite the stern warning, protests erupted in Tehran and other major cities, including Shiraz in the south and Mashhad in the north-east on Saturday, leading to hit and run clashes between protestors and security forces. Since Khamenei’s remarks on Friday, demonstrators have markedly directed their protests at him, with chants of “death to Khamenei”. Venting their anger at the clerical establishment on Saturday, many young protestors in Tehran chanted “death to the dictator” and some held up banners calling for ‘democracy’.

The opposition group People’s Mujahedin says that 150 people were killed by security forces in Iran during the violence on Saturday. Official figures say 17 people have died in the week of unrest, and state television says the Mujahedin have had a hand in the street violence.

Protests and clashes were also reported in Tehran on Sunday and Monday despite the ban.

The country's highest electoral authority, the Guardian Council, on Monday acknowledged that there were voting irregularities in 50 electoral districts, the most serious official admission so far of problems in the election. But the council insisted the problems do not affect the outcome of the vote. Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei was quoted on the state broadcaster as saying that its probe showed more votes were cast in these constituencies than there were registered voters.

But this "has no effect on the result of the elections," he said.

Khamenei accepted a request by Iran's top legislative body to extend the deadline by five days for receiving and looking into election complaints, state television said on Tuesday.

Iran's president and the new cabinet will be sworn in before Parliament between 26 July and 19 August, the official news agency IRNA said on Tuesday.

Based in part on wire reports

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