Features

Carnage in Mahshahr + Flu + Baha'i Persecution (again...)

December 2, 2019
Maziar Bahari
2 min read
In Mahshahr, security forces shot not only at crowds of protesters, but also at people coming out onto their balconies to see what was happening, and at bystanders
In Mahshahr, security forces shot not only at crowds of protesters, but also at people coming out onto their balconies to see what was happening, and at bystanders
Pouya Bakhtiari, an inspired young man who felt change was in the air when he went out to protest, was one of many who were killed
Pouya Bakhtiari, an inspired young man who felt change was in the air when he went out to protest, was one of many who were killed
Payam Akhavan will serve as counsel on both the ICC and the ICJ cases regarding Myanmar's treatment of the country's Rohingya Muslims
Payam Akhavan will serve as counsel on both the ICC and the ICJ cases regarding Myanmar's treatment of the country's Rohingya Muslims

There was one reason the Islamic Republic shut down the internet in Iran last week: Killing its own citizens and getting away with it. And it seems that they were somehow successful. While they were murdering people across the country (we have verified 122 deaths so far), the world was busy with Brexit, the impeachment hearing and of course Prince Andrew’s presumed “unbecoming” actions. 

We’ve been receiving hundreds of videos since the shutdown was somewhat lifted last week. We’ve started to understand the horrifying degree of what has happened. The worst carnage may have happened in the southwestern city of Mahshahr, where security forces shot not only at crowds of protesters, but also at people coming out onto their balconies to see what was happening, or at bystanders who weren't even taking part in the protests. Revolutionary Guards used DShK heavy machine guns and positioned themselves on a hill and shot at people trying to hide in the marshland below. IranWire spoke to several eyewitnesses who said the protesters had been largely peaceful, but Guards and Basiji volunteers indiscriminately and brutally targeted them. 

We have an exclusive interview with the mother of Pouya Bakhtiari, an inspired young man who felt change was in the air when he went out to protest. His mother has pledged to carry on with his ideals, commitment and spirit, and her own sense of fight gives a glimpse of just what Iran could look like if it was run by different people and a different ideology.

At the same time, Islamic Republic authorities have taken the opportunity to crack down on people it has historically targeted: Yes, the Baha’is, Iran’s largest religious minority. The regime’s propaganda machine has singled out out the Baha’is for provoking unrest around the country, and many Baha’is have been arrested in the last few days. 

But could there be some glimmer of hope? Yes, there are many Payam Akhavans in this world. In an interview, Payam tells us about how his religion, the Baha’i Faith, has inspired his work and how people, appealing to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, try to hold the government of Myanmar to account for the genocide of the country’s Rohingya Muslims. There was also the case of Hamid Nouri, one of those responsible for the murder of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in the 1980s, and who was arrested in Sweden. These developments suggest that justice, even after years, can be done.
 

 

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