As the twelfth week of Iranian protests approaches, President Ebrahim Raisi headed on Thursday to the capital of Kurdistan Province, Sanandaj, amid tight security measures in the city that has become the cradle of demonstrations in the west of Iran.
“During the recent riots, the enemies miscalculated in believing that they could cause chaos, insecurity, and riots,” said Raisi on the sidelines of his inauguration of a water supply project in Sanandaj.
“People are facing economic and social problems, but they know how to face the enemy with their solidarity,” added the president.
Raisi pledged that Kurdistan province would be a “major” destination for his upcoming visits.
Since September 17, the region has been rocked by more than 100 deaths during authorities’ crackdown to quell the protests sparked by the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody.
Rage over Amini’s death turned into a popular uprising by Iranians from all walks of life, posing one of the most daring challenges to the ruling establishment since the 1979 revolution.
At least 459 protesters have been killed so far by security forces during the unrest in Iran, including 64 minors, according to the activist HRANA news agency.
The agency said that it is closely monitoring human rights violations in Iran. At least 18,195 individuals have been arrested in 157 cities and 143 universities that were stormed by anti-regime protests.
Raisi did not mention sending reinforcements from the Revolutionary Guard ground forces to Kurdish areas, but he said: “In Kurdistan, we stood against the counter-revolutionary groups. They tried to find a foothold for themselves, but the people of Kurdistan thwarted their efforts.”
“The brutality and cruelty of those behind the riots reminds us of the behavior of (ISIS),” the state-run ISNA news agency quoted Raisi as telling the family of one of the security forces killed in the protests.