Iran Escalates Violent Crackdown Against Kurdish Protesters

    Photo: Reuters

    The Facts

    • Iran's crackdown on unprecedented unrest — triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police in mid-September — has reportedly reached its ethnically Kurdish areas.

    • Kurdish human rights group "Hengaw" claims that Iranian security forces have killed over 40 and injured at least 1.5K people in the northwest of the country using direct fire over the past week alone.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Growing fears that the protests will transform into a broader push for freedom have resulted in the Iranian regime resorting to a violent crackdown. By linking civilians to terrorist entities, Iranian hardliners have so far evaded responsibility for the brutal killings, but there is no denying protests could topple the deeply entrenched clerical regime if the force and organization behind them continues.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The protesters are a grave threat to national security as they are backed by foreign forces illegitimately interfering with Iran's politics. Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, is right to term them rioters and thugs. The Iranian justice system must deal with demonstrators mercilessly in order to protect the country's stability.

    Cynical narrative

    The West is not interested in Iranians' human rights — its interventionist stance is motivated by a desire to pressure Tehran into a new nuclear deal and contain the nation's support for Russia in the war in Ukraine. Since Iranian officials are aware of the West's motives and protesters' distrust of the United States, brutal crackdowns will continue until the demonstrations are stifled.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that Iran will cease to be an Islamic Republic by Oct., 2036, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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