The police commander of Sistan and Baluchistan announced on November 16 the deployment of "tactical armored vehicles” to the restive Iranian province to "strengthen security and peace and address security threats decisively."
Speaking on the eve of weekly protests after Friday prayers in Sistan and Baluchistan, Doostali Jalilian stated that the reinforcements are meant to confront "armed robbers and criminals."
The announcement coincides with a heightened presence of security and military forces in the province, particularly in the provincial capital of Zahedan and Khash.
Sistan and Baluchistan is home to Iran's Sunni Baluch minority of up to 2 million people.
Zahedan, Khash and other cities across the province have been the scenes of protests almost every Friday since September 30 of last year, when security forces killed nearly 100 people in the deadliest incident in nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini.
Reports indicate that on Fridays, government forces set up checkpoints and blockades on the streets, conduct physical searches on men and women, and arrest protesters, amid disruptions of communication lines and restrictions to internet access.
Earlier this week, the chief justice of Sistan and Baluchistan confirmed the execution of three prisoners in Zahedan who had been sentenced to death for allegedly collaborating with groups opposed to the Islamic Republic.
Human rights groups say members of Iran’s Baluch minority – most of whom adhere to the Sunni strain of Islam – face widespread discrimination in the judicial system and in their everyday lives, with the authorities curtailing their access to education, employment, adequate housing and political office.