Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Hossein Zolfaghari, deputy interior minister in Rouhani’s cabinet, has described news about the slaughter of impoverished porters in Iran as 'misleading.' Referring to the porters as 'smugglers', Zolfaghari callously said: 'Those who are shot at are not porters. The issue of porters is different from smugglers. At night, there are people busy smuggling in the mountains. Border guards order them to stop.

When they pay no attention, bullets are fired into the air, however, sometimes they don’t care again. Police, border guards and the Supreme National Security Council have emphasized that if possible the people should not be shot at, but that if this did occur, it should be done with minimal damage' (state-run ILNA news agency, November 5). Zolfaghari was previously a commander of the border police and was directly involved in the killing of a large number of border porters.

His fabrications come while porters are continuously losing their lives both at border crossings by direct fire from IRGC border forces without prior notice or under torture in detention. In the last Persian calendar year, the number of porters killed reached at least 76. The latest instance of this systematic and continuous crime came on November 6 when 13-year-old Rasoul Yousefi from the Qatour district near Khoy (Western Azerbaijan Province) was arrested by IRGC border guards and was killed under torture at the Razi border checkpoint simply for carrying a 20-litre container full of gasoline. His death was due to being kicked repeatedly by the officer in charge of the outpost who was wearing boots. The harrowing crime was met with protests by residents of Qatour.

Border porters, including 10-year-old children, elderly men and women, and university graduates, are being killed while huge and large-scale drug trafficking in the country, which amounts to $25 billion a year, is in the hands of Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, and other security and intelligence apparatuses of the regime. In a press conference in London on March 7, 2017, the Iranian Resistance revealed that 90 docks, i.e. about 45 percent of the country’s docks, are used for large-scale smuggling. They are mainly at the disposal of the IRGC.

Systematic killing of border porters and small businessmen on the border areas, as acknowledged by Rouhani’s deputy interior minister, is being ordered by the regime’s State Security Forces and the Supreme National Security Council, which indicates that the hands of Rouhani and his cabinet are, like that of Khamenei’s faction, tainted with the blood of laborers.

The Iranian Resistance calls on all Iranian people, especially the brave youth, to show solidarity with the porters and the families of the victims, and it further calls on international human rights and labor rights organizations to strongly condemn the clerical regime for its crimes against Iranian laborers.

 

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 7, 2017

 

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