Iranians Honor Martyrs in Zahedan, Rejecting Regime’s “Separationist” Theory

Written by
Mehdi Oghbai

November 9 marked the 40th day of martyrdom of over 100 innocent worshipers killed in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchestan province. On Wednesday, many Iranian cities witnessed demonstrations in solidarity with the people of the southeastern Iranian region. This national solidarity debunked the regime’s efforts to paint brave Baluchi Iranians as separationists.

Locals in Tehran on other cities held the photos of Zahedan’s martyrs and chanted, “From Zahedan to Tehran, my life for Iran,” a slogan that was used during the recent protests in Sistan and Baluchestan.

Considered one of the most deprived areas of Iran, Baluchestan and its residents have been subjected to centuries of state-controlled mistreatment. The province that was once considered a flourishing area in Iran is devastated due to the cruelty and discrimination of dictatorships.

Yet, the courageous people in Sistan and Baluchestan have played a significant role since the beginning of Iran’s nationwide uprising. Two third of the uprising’s 550 martyrs are from this province. Their bravery has encouraged the entire Iranian nation and sent a wave of national solidarity across the country.

Therefore, the regime miserably failed after decades of painting the deprived people of Baluchestan as “separationists,” an excuse used by officials to justify their misbehavior and crimes against humanity in Sistan and Baluchestan.

Since hijacking the revolution in 1979, religious fascism has been aiming to “divide and conquer” or oppress the restive Iranian society. A few weeks into the Iranian 1979 revolution, the regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini mobilized its forces and attacked the Kurdistan region. This was just the beginning of Iran’s ruling theocracy. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) forces and border patrol have been mercilessly killing fuel porters in Sistan and Baluchestan and porters in Kurdistan under the pretext of “fighting smuggling.” Meanwhile, by controlling all of Iran’s officials and unofficial ports, IRGC runs the country’s largest smuggling network.

Protests in Zahedan | October 21, 2022
The Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), was the first to condemn Khomeini’s full-fledged war on Kurdistan and other ethnic minorities. In 1981, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) adopted a comprehensive plan recognizing Kurdistan’s self-autonomy in the context of the territorial integrity of Iran. The NCRI underlines that the measures included in this plan could be used as a model for other provinces like Sistan and Baluchestan.

The clerical regime, and its predecessor dictatorship, have long tried to target national unity by putting double pressure on regions like Sistan and Baluchestan. But the recent uprising laid bare their failure.

The brave people in Kurdistan and Baluchestan paid the price of national unity with their blood. They refused to fall into the regime’s trap of “separationism” and, like other protesters across Iran, focused on calling out the entire regime and chanted “Death to Khamenei”.

The presence of Iranians from all walks of life in the nationwide uprising, including the active participation of ethnic and religious minorities with the goal of regime change, once again proves the reality that there is a democratic revolution in the making in Iran. By chanting slogans such as “death to the dictator” and “down with the oppressor, be it Shah or the Mullah,” Iranians have made it crystal clear they want democracy. Other slogans, such as “From Zahedan to Tehran, my life for Iran,” indicate a national determination to topple a regime that has indeed occupied Iran.

The time has come for the world community to accept the Iranian people’s will and desire for regime change. The first step is recognizing their right to self-defense and self-determination of their future. This would indeed help Iranians to end at least a century of oppression by two dictatorships and achieve freedom and democracy.

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