Iranian authorities have stepped up their deadly crackdown in the country's western Kurdistan region, which has been the heart of months of anti-establishment rallies.
According to human rights organizations, government troops have killed over a dozen individuals in mostly Kurdish cities within the span of 24 hours. The carnage unfolds in the midst of allegations of highly armed soldiers being deployed in the area.
According to activists, the violence is an effort by the government to instill fear among protestors and suppress the two-month-long countrywide rallies.
The demonstrations arose in response to the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who died soon after being imprisoned by Iran's morality police for allegedly breaching the country's hijab legislation.
Protests over the harsh implementation of the required head scarf have snowballed into one of the most severe challenges to Iran's clerical establishment, which has ruled since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
"The Islamic regime is employing such tremendous violence in Kurdistan to stifle rallies all throughout Iran," said Zhila Mostajar of Hengaw, a rights organization registered in Norway that focuses on Iran's Kurdish area.
"The authorities believe that by crushing demonstrations in Kurdistan, they will send a message to people in other areas of the nation," said Mostajar, who is based in Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region.
Since November 20, at least 13 people have been slain in mostly Kurdish cities, according to Hengaw, including seven in Javanrud, four in Piranshahr, and one apiece in Dehgolan and Bukan.
Casualties of the regime
According to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Commission, government troops have killed at least 378 civilians, including 47 children, throughout the nation. According to the IHR, at least 83 individuals have been killed in Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and West Azerbaijan, three areas with sizable Kurdish populations.