Crackdown in Kurdish region of Iran hits home for Port Moody, B.C. woman

A Port Moody, B.C., woman is living a nightmare as she watches a government crackdown in her former hometown in Iran.

Video has begun to emerge showing the Iranian government has brought in tanks to crush protests in the Kurdish town of Sanandaj in the country’s west.

Mehran, who Global News has agreed not to identify out of concern for her family’s safety, gets up every morning and anxiously watches the latest videos from home on social media.

“Honestly every single day I wake up and I say, ‘I hope I don’t hear any bad news,’” she said.

“Yes I am scared, every single day I wake up, I say, oh my God, I hope we get through it without hearing any bad news.”

Mehran’s home province of Kurdistan has been faced some of the harshest crackdowns by the regime. Amnesty Internatonal reports that Iranian security forces in the region are using firearms indiscriminately.

Videos are also emerging of Tehran sending heavy-armoured weapons to the city, which is largely populated by the same ethnic minority as Mahsa Amini, the young woman whose death in police custody was a catalyst for weeks of anti-regime protests.

Mehran recounted a recent video call with her niece in Kurdistan, in which she saw some of the violence taking place in real time.

“I am watching this and witnessing what is going to happen right now — is it, like my niece going to be shot? And do you know what, they started to throw rocks on all of the windows in front of my eyes, it was just so horrifying.

For Mehran, the violence raises painful memories of when she joined anti-regime protests in 1980 against the Islamic republic.

“I was in exactly the same situation when I witnessed my friends killed, when I witnessed sister (lose) her leg, when I witnessed my brother killed,” she said.

Despite the anxiety, Mehran said freedom keeps her spirit alive. And despite the crackdowns, that spirit of freedom appears alive in Iranian Kurdistan as well, where protesters continue to defy the regime with illegal singing and dancing in the streets to Kurdish music.

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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