ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Business owners and merchants in Iran’s Baneh region this weekend opened their shops again after weeks of peaceful protests against Tehran’s months-long closure of its northwestern border with the Kurdistan Region.
“Businessmen decided to temporarily open their shops after 25 days [of closure.] However, the strikes will resume if authorities fail to fulfill the promises made to strikers,” a merchant told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).
The protests began on Apr. 15, in Baneh and Javanrud as a response to the closure of border crossings to the Kurdistan Region and high tariffs.
Residents of Kurdish-populated cities in Iran heavily rely on imported products and trade to make a living. The border closures affected businesses, lowering the availability of affordable goods for them to sell.
The Iranian government had deployed anti-riot police and cut off the internet to prevent the coverage of the strikes and non-violent demonstrations, the KHRN claimed.
Government officials claim the border closures have been done so in coordination with the Iraqi government to bring order to border trade and preserve security in border areas.
Representatives from Iran, notably from the protesting border towns of Sardasht and Piranshahr, reportedly accompanied an Iranian government delegation to Iraq to resolve border issues.
The Iranian government delegation allegedly promised to open a border point for trading purposes and two other routes for the Kulbars (Kurdish border couriers) to use.
The Kurdish term “Kulbar” consists of “kul” meaning back and “bar” meaning carrying.
Protesters had pointed out that their demands were “in accordance with article 28 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic,” where “Everyone has the right to choose any occupation one wishes if it is not contrary to Islamic jurisprudence and the public’s interests and/or the rights of other people.”
Editing by Nadia Riva