ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Iranian regime has arrested scores of Kurdish civilians in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat) following demonstrations in support of the Kurdistan Region’s historic Sep. 25 independence referendum, local media reported on Thursday.
According to a source within the Iranian regime, a campaign was launched against Kurdish demonstrators in the city of Sagezh in Rojhelat, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the Basiji militia, and the Iranian intelligence agency’s local branch…have established a joint command center for the purpose of identifying and arresting the organizers of the demonstrations,” another source was quoted by the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan's (PDKI) website.
“Iran’s paramilitary forces and intelligence agency have targeted Kurdish demonstrators in a majority of the Kurdish cities that staged demonstrations in support of the independence referendum,” the PDKI report added.
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard and its regular army have begun running military drills near the border with the Kurdistan Region.
The Iranian regime has also sent tanks and heavy military vehicles to patrol the Kurdish cities with reports of internet closures.
Kurds on social media shared multiple videos and images of dozens of police cars maneuvering in their cities meant to intimidate citizens.
Speaking to Kurdistan 24, locals confirmed they had lost internet in the days following the successful independence referendum.
Footage of thousands of Kurds celebrating in the cities of Sanandaj (Sina), Baneh, Mariwan, Mahabad, and others went viral as Kurds across the Kurdistan Region rushed to polling stations to cast their votes.
Despite risks involved, Iranian Kurds were dancing, shouting pro-Kurdish slogans, and waving Kurdistan flags to celebrate the successful independence vote on Monday.
Iran, which has been boasting its widespread influence in the region—mainly in war-torn Syria and Iraq—has condemned the move and threatened the Kurdistan Region.
Tehran had also halted air travel to Kurdistan ahead of the momentous vote.
Editing by Ava Homa