Iranian border guards kill, injure 3 couriers near Kurdistan border
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A young Kurdish courier was killed two others were injured when Iranian border guards shot them directly near the Kele border crossing between Iran and the Kurdistan Region, according to a human rights monitor on Saturday.
Kulbar is the Kurdish term for individuals who smuggle small amounts of goods across the border ("kul," meaning "back" and "bar," meaning "carrying.”) between the Kurdistan Region and Iran.
They carry an average of 75 kilograms (150 pounds) on their backs as they journey across the Zagros Mountains back and forth to make a living amidst rampant unemployment.
According to a statement from Iranian Kurdish rights and conflict watchdog Hengaw, the Iranian armed forces opened fire on a group of couriers and killed one Friday evening.
The statement quoted a source in the city of Bana in Iranian Kurdistan, who revealed the identity of the victim, a 24-year-old named Mahran Rahmani.
The wounded persons included Hawre Ahmadi and Mahran's uncle, Ibrahim Rahmani, 45. All were reportedly from Manjilan village in the Bana district.
Though illegal, being a kulbar is a local practice that has long since been accepted as normal in economically undeveloped areas where many residents depend on it for their livelihoods.
With no other means of livelihood, couriers cut through treacherous mountain roads carrying tobacco, clothes, tea, and heavy packages, often more than one meter above their shoulders, crossing the border with the goods on their back.