INU – Feb 07, 2017

Last week four Kurdish porters were arrested in the border area of Banneh in Western Iran. Agents of the Iranian regime then proceeded to push them down into the valley. This resulted in three of the men being seriously injured. The fourth man, Azad Ghassemi, died as a result of the fall. He was father to a small child.

Two other porters witnessed the assault and murder, but they too were arrested. They have been taken to an unknown location.

The families of all six porters have been threatened by officials of the regime and have been told not to speak to anyone about the crime that took place.

In Piranshahr and Sardasht – villages in Iranian Kurdistan – five porters died on 28th and 30th January. The young men aged between 18 and 27 got trapped in an avalanche during a freezing storm. During the same incident, several other porters were seriously injured.

The death of these young people is shocking, but at the same time it is only a small sample of the consequences of the Iranian regime’s corruption. The wealth of the people of Iran has been plundered, and the huge sums of money freed up from the nuclear deal has been sent abroad to fund terrorist, war and fundamentalist activities. The people of Iran are left to suffer with high rates of unemployment and terrible social conditions.

The number of porters in Iran has increased because of the horrific unemployment situation. Very young children and elderly men and women are becoming porters, as are university graduates.

The job is dangerous enough for the less vulnerable people, so to see children and elderly people doing the job shows how desperate the situation is. Porters are targeted by the State Security Force and have to contend with extreme weather conditions and uneven terrain.

Between March and November last year, more than 70 Kurdish porters died and dozens were injured because of shootings by the State Security Force.

The Iranian regime’s laws criminalise the work of a porter which is punishable by prison or a fine to the value of the items they are carrying (which are also confiscated).

Paradoxically, the Iranian regime, including intelligence and security agencies do contraband deals including the smuggling of women and girls, drugs and contraband goods.

Majlis deputy Hossein Ali Haji Deligani indicated that the amount of contraband deals in Iran is worth $25 billion – three times more than the construction budget. This has resulted in almost a million job losses.