Tight Security Measures in Iranian Kurdistan, Raisi Pushes for Calm

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi surrounded by guards in a market in the city of Sanandaj on Thursday (Iranian Presidency)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi surrounded by guards in a market in the city of Sanandaj on Thursday (Iranian Presidency)
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Tight Security Measures in Iranian Kurdistan, Raisi Pushes for Calm

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi surrounded by guards in a market in the city of Sanandaj on Thursday (Iranian Presidency)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi surrounded by guards in a market in the city of Sanandaj on Thursday (Iranian Presidency)

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.



Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
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Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve, with the number of people suffering chronic hunger barely changed over the past year, a UN report said on Wednesday.

The annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report said around 733 million people faced hunger in 2023 -- one in 11 people globally and one in five in Africa -- as conflict, climate change and economic crises take their toll.

David Laborde, director of the division within the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which helps prepare the survey, said that although progress had been made in some regions, the situation had deteriorated at a global level.

"We are in a worse situation today than nine years ago when we launched this goal to eradicate hunger by 2030," he told Reuters, saying challenges such as climate change and regional wars had grown more severe than envisaged even a decade ago.

If current trends continue, about 582 million people will be chronically undernourished at the end of the decade, half of them in Africa, the report warned.

A broader objective to ensure regular access to adequate food has also stalled over the past three years, with 29% of the global population, or 2.33 billion people, experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity in 2023.

Underscoring stark inequalities, some 71.5% of people in low-income countries could not afford a healthy diet last year, against 6.3% in high-income countries.

While famines are easy to spot, poor nutrition is more insidious but can nonetheless scar people for life, stunting both the physical and mental development of babies and children, and leaving adults more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.

Laborde said international aid linked to food security and nutrition amounted to $76 billion a year, or 0.07% of the world's total annual economic output.

"I think we can do better to deliver this promise about living on a planet where no one is hungry," he said.

Regional trends varied significantly, with hunger continuing to rise in Africa, where growing populations, myriad wars and climate upheaval weighed heavily. By contrast, Asia has seen little change and Latin America has improved.

"South America has very developed social protection programs that allows them to target interventions so they can effectively move out of hunger in a very fast way," said FAO's chief economist Maximo Torero.

"In the case of Africa, we have not observed that."

The United Nations said the way the anti-hunger drive was financed had to change, with greater flexibility needed to ensure the countries most in need got help.

"We need to change how we do things to be better coordinated, to accept that not everyone should try to do everything but really be much more focused on what we are doing and where," said Laborde.

The report is compiled by the Rome-based FAO, the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, its Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization and World Food Program.