Iranian oilworkers protest Mahsa Amini’s death

Iranian oilworkers protest Mahsa Amini’s death

Online footage seemed to demonstrate that Monday’s protests against the murder of a 22-year-old woman were organized by workers at refineries that are essential to Iran’s oil and natural gas output, worsening the crisis Tehran is already experiencing.

The turmoil around Mahsa Amini’s murder has long been tolerated in Iran, but it wasn’t until the protests in Abadan and Asaluyeh that it began to pose a danger to the sector vital to the country’s theocratic government’s ability to fund its operations.

The protests coincide with ongoing rallies over Amini’s murder on September 16 after her detention by Iran’s morality police in Tehran, however it is unknown whether additional employees would join them. A city in western Iran awoke early on Monday to the sounds of what seemed to be gunfire and explosives, while local activists said security forces had murdered one guy in a neighboring town.

The Iranian government maintains that Amini was not abused, but according to her relatives, her body exhibited symptoms of violence, including bruises. Later recordings showed security personnel pushing and punching female protestors, even some who had removed the hijab, or required head covering.

Despite officials blocking the internet, Internet recordings have appeared from Tehran’s capital and other locations. As the demonstrations enter their fourth week, videos from Monday showed university and high school students rallying and screaming, along with some women and girls walking through the streets bareheaded. Since the Green Movement protests in 2009, the demonstrations are one of the largest threats to Iran’s theocracy.

The Associated Press examined online footage that showed scores of employees gathering at the refineries in Asaluyeh, a city on the Persian Gulf about 575 miles south of Tehran. The enormous facility imports natural gas from the sizable offshore reservoir that Iran and Qatar share.

In one video, the assembled employees cry “shameless” and “death to the tyrant” while others have their faces covered. The slogans have been heard during demonstrations in response to Amini’s death.

The demonstrators yelled, “This is the bloody year Seyyed Ali will be ousted,” refusing to refer to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as an ayatollah. Ayatollahs are prominent Shiite clerics.

Although the event was portrayed as a wage disagreement by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran refused to admit any interruption at the plant. The third largest natural gas provider in the world, after the United States and Russia, is Iran.

Videos also showed employees leaving the workplace in Abadan, a city that previously housed the biggest oil refinery in the world. The Contractual Oil Workers Protest Organizing Council allegedly issued a statement calling for a strike in response to “the oppression and deaths,” according to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.

The declaration stated, “We proclaim that now is the moment for broad demonstrations and to prepare ourselves for countrywide and exhausting strikes.” We shall continue our demonstrations alongside the whole country day after day; this is only the beginning.

According to a Kurdish organization named the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, the early-morning violence in western Iran took place in Salas Babajani, a town close to the Iraqi border, as well as Sanandaj, the provincial seat of Iran’s Kurdistan region. Since Amini was Kurdish, her passing has been felt acutely in the Kurdish area of Iran, where protests started on September 17 after her burial.

Hengaw published video that it said showed flames rising in one Sanandaj area and what seemed to be rapid rifle fire ringing over the night sky. People could be heard shouting.

The extent of any injuries caused by the assault was not immediately known. Later, Hengaw uploaded a video on the internet showing what seemed to be a collection of shotgun and rifle round casings as well as used tear gas canisters.

Violence broke out early on Monday in Sanandaj, roughly 250 miles west of Tehran. The authorities have not yet provided an explanation. According to the semi-official Fars news agency on Monday, the governor of Iran’s Kurdistan region, Esmail Zarei Kousha, claimed without offering any proof that unidentified gangs “plotted to murder young people on the streets” on Saturday.

Kousha also claimed that day that these nameless groups had killed a young guy by shooting him in the head; this incident has been squarely attributed to Iranian security personnel by activists. They claim that the guy honked his automobile horn towards Iranian soldiers, who then allegedly opened fire. In other footage, riot police can be seen shattering the windshields of passing cars as a result of activists honking, which has been one of the ways activists have been demonstrating civil disobedience.

Hengaw said that Iranian security forces repeatedly shot a 22-year-old man demonstrating in Salas Babajani, a hamlet some 60 miles southwest of Sanandaj, who eventually passed away from his injuries. It said that additional people had been hurt in the incident.

How many individuals have died thus far remains a mystery. At least 41 people have reportedly died in the protests as of September 24 according to state television’s most recent report. Since then, the Iranian government has not provided any updates.

Iran Human Rights, an NGO with headquarters in Oslo, estimates that at least 185 individuals have died.

This includes about 90 individuals who were slain by security forces in Zahedan, an Iranian city in the east, during protests against a police officer who was charged with rape in a different case.

Without providing any information or proof, Iranian officials have claimed that unidentified separatists were involved in the incident in Zahedan.

During this time, a prison riot apparently claimed the lives of numerous prisoners in Rasht, according to a prosecutor. Although Rasht has had frequent protests in recent weeks after Amini’s death, it was unclear right first whether the incident at Lakan Prison was connected to the continuing rallies.

Mehdi Fallah Miri, the provincial prosecutor of Gilan, was reported by the unofficial Mehr news agency as claiming that “several convicts died due to their wounds when the power was disconnected (at the jail) because of the damage.” Additionally, he said that detainees resisted letting the police treat the injured.

According to Miri, the disturbance started in a section of a jail holding death row convicts.

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