A year ago, Iranian security forces unleashed live bullets on largely peaceful protesters, bystanders and worshippers after Friday prayers in the city of Khash, southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province, killing at least 18 people, including children.
The November 4, 2022, incidents occurred less than a month after Bloody Friday in the provincial capital, Zahedan, which claimed the lives of over 100 people.
The tragedies revealed that “protesters from the oppressed Baluchi minority have borne the brunt of the security forces’ particularly vicious crackdown” on the monthslong demonstrations that swept Iran following the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, according to Amnesty International.
In his November 3 Friday sermon, the Sunni Friday prayer leader of Zahedan, Molavi Abdulhamid, said that the Iranian people continue to seek "justice" for the killings and demand that the "perpetrators and masterminds" be held accountable.
Haalvsh, a group that monitors rights violations in Sistan and Baluchistan, has been able to reveal the names of only 11 of the victims in Khash, including many young individuals who aspired to break free from the shackles of poverty and oppression.
On the anniversary of the massacre, IranWire tells the story of several of those killed.
Innocent Children: Mobeen and Yasser
Mobeen Mirkazehi, 14, lost his life after being struck by a bullet in front of the governor's office of Khash.
Baluch activists said that the boy had joined the popular protests against the government
A close relative, who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons, tells IranWire that the family had struggled to provide for their child and make sure he received a proper education.
"The family's meager resources were depleted, leaving little for their impoverished household," the source said. "Mobeen's father is a laborer. Every six months, he would travel to [the southern port city of] Bandar Abbas for work, leaving his family for three to four months."
"On the day Mobeen was killed, they called his father with the news that his son was unwell, which was far from the truth. It was a ruse to bring him back," the relative added.
"They were forced to earn money, silence their grief, and forfeit their right to seek justice. The suffering inflicted upon them has been immense, to the extent that the health condition of Mobeen's mother has significantly deteriorated since his death."
The 17-year-old Yasser Bahadorzehi, who Baluch activists say did not participate in protests, is another victim of the security forces’ indiscriminate crackdown in Khash.
The teenager suffered from severe physical and mental disabilities, as evidenced by photos and videos circulated after his death.
His lifeless body bearing bullet wounds was found a day after the November 4 massacre, in a field located hundreds of meters from the protest site.
Targeted in Chest and Head: Mohammad, Sadegh, Younes and Ali
Mohammad Shahbakhsh, a 22-year-old student at Khash Azad University, was fatally shot during the protests in Khash.
Videos show Mohammad’s lifeless body amidst the protesters, who can be heard chanting "Allah Akbar" (God Is Great). Moments later, they lift the body from the ground and carry it away.
A photo of Younes Selahshoran's grave – featuring an inscription that reads "Oh God! What did the martyrs see in martyrdom to leave us and go to you?" – has been widely shared on social media networks.
"In Baluchistan, those who lost their lives in the protests are referred to as martyrs. Despite the government's attempts to claim them as its own martyrs, many families resist accepting the government's narrative regarding the martyrs of Baluchistan, despite the poverty and hardships they face," a source tells IranWire.
"Many of the people of Baluchistan are devout Muslims, but they are staunchly against the government and its oppression,” he continued. “They have not allowed the government, which deceitfully confiscated the people's religious values, to falsely label them as martyrs."
Sadegh Aramesh, a muezzin and servant of Khash's Meraj Mosque, was shot and killed by security forces.
Disturbing images of Sadegh show his bloodied face, with one eye still open, and a bullet struck to his head.
In one video, a man identified as a member of Sadegh's family rejects the government’s accusations against those killed, saying they were not “thugs and hooligans” but rather students, laborers and tradesmen.
Ali Moradzehi, 25, also lost his life after being hit by bullets.
This primary school teacher was pursuing undergraduate studies at Khash Azad University.
Azim Mahmoudzehi, Father of Four
Azim, 40, left behind four young children. A source close to his family tells IranWire that he was a hardworking laborer who transported agricultural goods to cities in Baluchistan.
A video posted by his wife, Binazir Yarahamdzehi, shows her sitting beside a young child and asking in Baluch language: "I want to ask them [the government]: ‘What did my husband do to deserve martyrdom? What crime had he committed that led to his martyrdom?’"
"My husband went to take a driving license exam out of despair and helplessness, but before he reached the governorate of Khash, they shot him in the head," she says with her voice quivered with emotion.
"After shooting him in the head, they discarded his body in the wilderness. They took his phone, opened his watch, removed the car's key, the certificate and his ring. Why did they abandon him in the desert? Do they think that God will spare them? No, I’m praying in this mosque that God will bring shame upon them," she adds.
The grieving woman bursts into tears as she asks, "What am I going to do with four children? You've made these four children orphans. Now this child asks: 'Where is my father?' What answer can I give him? He pleads: 'Go get my father from the ground!'"