ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iranian border guards killed a young Kurdish courier at the border near the town of Sardasht, the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said on Tuesday.
Ismail Azizi, a 33-year-old from Mahabad, died after Iranian border forces fired on a group of Kurdish border couriers on the border of the Kanizard of Sardasht.
Meanwhile, three nights ago, on the same frontier, Iranian armed forces opened fire on a group of couriers and killed three horses.
The smugglers are known as kulbar, or border couriers, by locals.
Kurdish officials say even university graduates are forced to smuggle goods, such as alcohol, tea, or tobacco, over the borders due to significant unemployment rates in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat).
“They attack kulbars [border couriers] with live bullets sporadically. Many are killed by the military at the border,” Abobakr Moddaresi, the Deputy Secretary General of Komal in Rojhilat, told Kurdistan 24.
According to Hengaw, in the last 25 days, at least nine Kurdish smugglers were killed on the border of Urmia Province.
“Iran has instituted policies to deprive Kurds of all economic opportunities,” Loghman H. Ahmedi, a senior member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan’s (PDKI) leadership, told Kurdistan 24.
“These policies have left many Kurds with no other source of income except transferring goods on their backs via the border,” he added.
“The fact that they kill these people who are only attempting to put bread on their families tables is just a continuation of Iran’s decades-long policy of using violence and force against the Kurdish people.”
According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), the killing of kulbars has increased since late July.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany