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Iran: Porters of misery and injustice under mullah’s rule

Porters, or heavy load carriers, are forced into excruciating labor in order to make ends meet
Porters, or heavy load carriers, are forced into excruciating labor in order to make ends meet

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, November 10, 2020—In recent weeks, some deprived porters in Iran’s western border areas, particularly Kurdistan province, were murdered and wounded by the suppressive State Security Forces (SSF), Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Border Guards.

On October 25, two porters near the cities of Baneh and Piranshahr were shot and wounded by the regime’s Border Guards.

On October 18, in the Chaldoran border area of West Azarbaijan province, northwest Iran, SSF units opened fire on a group of porters and killed Amin Shams, a father of two children, one a newborn baby.

On October 17, the regime’s Border Guards in the border area of Baneh opened fire on a group of porters, wounding one.

On October 13, Border Guards opened fire and wounded three porters.

Within October, at least 12 porters were murdered and wounded as a result of SSF and IRGC units opening fire.

“Fifteen porters have been killed within two months” is the title of an article published in the state-run Jahane Sanaat daily on September 8. “Nearly 15 porters have died over the past two months in border areas of Piranshahr and Sardasht. These incidents have taken place in border areas where passaging was previously free and legal,” the piece reads in part.

Commanders of SSF and Border Guards are attacking porters under the unfounded pretext of them conducting illegal activities. “We protect legal porters,” claimed the regime’s Border Guards chief on October 14, according to the IRGC-linked Fars news agency. According to this report, the porters who were shot dead by the regime’s criminal Border Guards deserved to be killed.

Porters, who are victims of the regime’s corrupt economic policies, have to endure hard labor in mountain trails of Iran’s border areas in order to barely make ends meet. All the while, SSF and IRGC units are opening fire on them on a daily basis.

The very existence of such an occupation—carrying loads for a very low income—and its considerable generality in the western border areas of the country, indicates extensive poverty and unemployment in Iran’s west provinces.

Poverty forced a young man, who had a college degree and was awarded several national championship medals, to work as a porter near the city of Nosood.

Although the regime’s Border Guards are ruthlessly opening on porters and murdering them, the head of the regime’s Border Guards claimed his units are protecting the porters.

“Yes, deep in my heart, I believe that we are protecting porters. Although we should clarify who is a legitimate porter. Unfortunately, some intentionally or unintentionally have no clear definition of a porter,” said the Border Guards chief Ahamd Ali Goudarzi in an interview with state TV on October 19.

However, the Border Guards chief in the city of Sardasht described porters as border trespassers and proclaimed a decisive approach against them.

Heads of the regime’s oppressive security forces are attempting to whitewash the regime’s crimes while it is quite obvious that the regime’s security forces are ruthlessly murdering and wounding many porters.

One member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) shed light on the reality of the oppression inflicted on the residents of border areas and porters. “You closed borders, you shut down border marketplaces, and shoot and slaughter young porters,” the MP said on September 6, according to the Majlis’ “Khaneye Mellat” website.

This injustice on borders is inflicted on porters while thousands of trucks and vessels controlled by the IRGC smuggle various shipments to neighboring countries. Smuggled goods in Iran have an annual value of up to $30 billion and they are transferred mainly through state borders and customs controlled by the regime’s security forces.

While IRGC forces are opening fire on deprived porters, a few days ago 17 trucks loaded with hundreds millions of dollars’ worth delivered contraband medicines to Iraq through the same borders where porters are shot.

Such institutionalized smuggling are mainly carried out through the country’s unofficial and shadow economy, largely by state organizations, the military and security institutions, more specifically the IRGC and entities affiliated to the office of regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei. These are the most corrupt sectors under the mullahs’ rule.

“This sector prefers to keep its activities concealed because of economic motives such as tax evasion and insurance costs, or avoiding governmental influence. Over the past 43 years, assessments suggest that this shadow economy within the production sector has grown an average 4.3 percent annually. In 2014 this sector had grown to seven times its size in comparison to 1971,” according to a Jahane Sanaat article published on September 29.

Such institutionalized corruption allows different types of corrupt individuals to plunder and rob billions of dollars of Iran’s revenue and wealth.

“Iran is ranked as the 146th most corrupt country among 180 other states and received a score of just 26 out of 100,” according to a May 5 piece published in the state-run Mostaghel daily.

Naturally, the mullahs’ regime does not address such corruption and plundering, nor do they take any action against illegal economic activities by state institutions. The regime instead targets porters under the pretext of “fighting goods smuggling.”