Sistan and Balochistan province is among the poorest in Iran and it faces regular sandstorms and droughts. The regime environmentally destructive policies and negligence have aggravated the province’s dire conditions and have worsened the living conditions.
Desperation and a lack of employment opportunities have forced many Balochis in the Sunni-majority region to engage in cross-border fuel smuggling as a means of earning a living. Regime
Barely a day passes without reports emerging on social media from human rights groups and activists mentioning the death of Balochi fuel smugglers because of the extrajudicial “shoot-to-kill” policy employed by Iran’s security forces and border guards.
Last Tuesday, the Balochi Activists’ Campaign (BAC) posted a video showing troops from the regime’s infamous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) firing on unarmed civilian Balochi fuel smugglers at the Eskan border outpost near the town of Saravan, with at least 10 killed and many more wounded in the unprovoked attack.
In response, protests broke out among the long-suffering residents of Saravan, who stormed the local governor’s office.
The following day, the local Balochi population in Kurin Sarjangal, a suburb of Zahedan city, launched a widespread strike and attacked the IRGC’s bases in Zahedan, setting fire to vehicles and destroying the barracks. Dozens of protesters were reportedly arrested.
According to the BAC’s report, the killings took place after the IRGC sealed off the Iranian-Pakistan border and dug huge holes to obstruct the movement of Balochi fuel smugglers.
These extrajudicial killings sparked further protests among the impoverished Balochi locals, who are reliant on cross-border trade to survive.
They gathered in front of the local IRGC base, demanding that the border be reopened and travel allowed.
The IRGC’s response was to open fire on the unarmed protesters, killing and wounding dozens.