Tehran, Iran, Aug. 07 – Iran’s State Security Forces and
agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security have been on heightened
alert on Sunday in the Kurdish town of Bukan, northwest Iran, following a general strike in
the central bazaar and in many shops, residents reported.
The general strike was in protest to authorities’ violent crackdown on the
restive Kurdish population in western Iran. Over the past month, there
have been continuous anti-government protests in Iran’s Kurdish region. A number of
demonstrators were killed by agents of the SSF who were attempting to
prevent an escalation of dissent.
Security on Sunday was tight and residents reported groups of SSF agents,
Revolutionary Guards, Bassijis (paramilitary
Islamic vigilantes loyal to the Supreme Leader) and agents of the dreaded
Ministry of Intelligence at key locations throughout Bukan.
Armed agents of the SSF approached gatherings of more than two people in Enghelab Street, Farmandari Square, Eskandari Square, Molavi
Junction and near the old hospital, witnesses said. Agents demanded proof
of identity from people being questioned in these streets.
Police have set up checkpoints at many of the main routes into Bukan, in particular those coming from Saqqez, Mahabad, and Miandoab where much of the unrest has taken place.
Several journalists and a number of prominent human rights activists in Kurdistan and Western Azerbaijan have also been arrested over
the past week for supporting protestors.