As security forces in Iran work to rein in protests that have lasted more than a week in cities across the country, the consequences are happening in neighboring Iraq, where Tehran is attacking opposition groups. Kurds.
Nine people were killed and at least 32 others, including children, wounded in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region on Wednesday after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bombarded the area for the fifth day in a row, Iraqi News Agency reportedcited the regional health ministry.
Kurdish officials and human rights groups say drones and missiles have hit the offices and paramilitary bases of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq, including the cities of Erbil. , Sulaimaniya and Pirde. It was the latest in a string of attacks on the region since Saturday, after Tehran accused Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq of inciting some of the protests that have crossed over to Iran. in 12 days.
Those protests were started after Mahsa Amini . died in police custody22, on September 16. Ms. Amini was detained on suspicion that she had violated Iran’s headscarf law, which requires adult women to cover their hair.
Rapid demonstrations Expand to dozens of cities in Iran and has grown into Most popular challenge for the country’s authoritarian government since 2009, followed by a brutal crackdown from the security forces.
Iranian authorities on Monday said 41 protesters had been killed and more than 1,200 arrested. Human rights groups say the fee is much higher but that is difficult to determine because the government has restricted mobile phone and internet service. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for the release of more than 23 journalists it says have been detained since the beginning of the protests.
The dramatic backdrops of the resistance pushed Iran into a chaos that cut through ethnic and social divisions and drew people from all walks of life. Videos circulating on social media have shown many women across Iran burning hijabs and cutting their hair show public defiance. Students and teachers at more than 20 universities staged a mass strike on Wednesday.
The unrest has become particularly intense in the Kurdish areas of northwestern Iran, near the border with Iraq.
The Iraqi Kurdistan region has long hosted Iranian Kurdish opposition groups, including paramilitary forces with bases dug deep into the mountains between Iraq and Iran. Tehran regularly conducts cross-border attacks against these forces, attacks that have increased since the latest protests began.
Iran’s Kurdish Democratic Party, one of the opposition groups targeted on Wednesday, accused the Revolutionary Guards of using strikes to divert attention from the protests.
“We urge the international community not to be silent,” the group said in a post on Twitter.
Government of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq denounce strikes and civilian casualties, calling the attacks “a repeated violation of the sovereignty of the Kurdistan region.”
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said: in a statement that missiles, artillery and 20 drones were used in Wednesday’s attacks, adding that the actions “cast a dark shadow over the area and will only contribute to further tensions”.
The United Nations also condemned the attacks, criticizing Iraq as “the backyard of the region, where neighboring countries routinely violate their sovereignty and go unpunished.”
The Health Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, Sama Barzanji, said that rescue teams had been deployed and that hospitals across Erbil were “on alert” to receive the wounded.
Iran has wielded considerable influence over Iraq for most of the past two decades, through its religious and economic ties as well as its backing of militias. But Anti-government protests sweep Iran could distract Tehran from monitor such proxies in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Iran, which has a Shia majority, has long counted on the support of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority to maintain a foothold there.
But clashed last month In Baghdad between two of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite groups – Iran-backed militias and fighters loyal to Iraqi nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr – has worried Tehran.