IRGC military forces are targeting the eyes of the protesters in the street with their bullets
Nearly 150 days have passed since the start of the nationwide protests in Iran. In these 5 months, more than 600 protesters have been injured and lost one or both eyes due to the deliberate shooting of the security forces.
Hossein Nader Beigi
On November 3, 2022, Hossein Nader Beigi, a 23-year-old protester, a citizen of Karaj and student at Azad University, faced a barrage of bullets from the security forces and lost both of his eyes during the 50th commemoration ceremony of Hadis Najafi in Behesht Sakineh, Karaj. Recently, one of the young protestors, who himself suffered an eye injury, spoke about the condition of Hossein Nader Beigi.
“Today, I went to have my eyes examined by the doctor and a boy around my age came in with both his eyes covered. I asked his companion what has happened to his eyes? He said that on the 40th of Hadis Najafi he was shot in his eyes. When I asked about the condition of his eyes and if he will get better, he said that he could not even see the light. He has become completely blind, and the doctors only maintain the appearance of the eyes. The mental state of this young man is very messed up and he only thinks about suicide. At nights he tells his mother, “You gave birth to me and you yourself have the right to take my life! Relieve me of my sufferings.”
The mother of this young man has not left his side ever for a moment so that he doesn’t kill himself. They take care of him with the hope that one day he might get better.
Hossein Abedini, who himself narrated about Hossein Nader Beigi, is a twenty-year-old young man from Tehran who works in modeling industry. On September 21st during the nationwide protests in Tehran, he was blinded by a direct bullet shot to his left eye by government agents. So far, he has performed 3 surgeries, but unfortunately has not regained his sight.
Kowsar Khoshnoodi Kia
Kowsar Khoshnoodi Kia, 27 years old from Kermanshah, is Iran’s national archer and the runner-up in the Asian Archery in 2022. On Friday, December 9, 2022, during the silent march of the nationwide in Kermanshah’s Bostan Blvd., she was shot in the eye area by the special forces, leaving her left eye blind.
Ghazal Rangekesh, a 21-year-old citizen of Bandar Abbas and a law student at Azad University,
was blinded in her right eye after plainclothes forces shot her in the eye on November 15, 2022.
The pellets were removed after a 3-hour operation which she received 52 stitches and lost her eye vision.
Ghazal wrote on her Instagram that before I saw the number and size of the bullets that were taken out of my eye, I thought there might be hope for my sight, but it was not; I did not feel any light…
But I have a question:
Why did you shoot me? Why were you smiling?”
With the last images she remembers in her right eye, Ghazal points out to the shooting of the repressive forces in the eyes, heads and faces of the protesters, as completely deliberate and purposeful.
A former security force agent speaking on the conditions of anonymity, says: “When the aid and special unit guards are sent to missions, according to organizational chart, everyone knows their duty. Everyone has a weapon with a registered number. Whose hands they are in are and the mount of cartridges per person are all recorded. Anyone who returns the least amount of ammunition to the headquarters is praised enthusiastically, and the higher ranks encourage and give him a reward.”
But how much is the reward for blinding the protesters?
According to the former agent, the reward can be as much as 500,000 Tomans worth of voucher or a 200,000 Tomans gift card: “The numbers don’t even reach one million per month.”
On the other hand, according to the same agent, the special unit commanders are always chosen from among people who are from other provinces: “This way, they can incite violent and brutal treatment.”
But nevertheless, the Iranian regime is trying to never accept responsibility for these shots.
On January 31, 2023, “Hassan Karami”, the commander of the FARAJA special forces, in an interview with “Hamshahri” newspaper in response to the question of deliberately shooting at sensitive points, such as the eyes and heads of the protesters, spoke about the “professional” and “skillful” nature of the special forces. He denied any intentional damage and talked about non-lethal weapons.
In its report, Iran Human Rights Organization stated that considering the volume of reports related to protesters being shot in the head and faces by security forces, leading to a significant number of citizens being blinded, it considers this action of security entities crushing the protests as “systematic.”
In a report published in the New York Times on November 29, the ophthalmologists of three major Tehran hospitals; Farabi, Rasoul Akram, and Labafinejad, have estimated that since from the onset of protests, they have admitted and treated a total of over 500 patients with severely damaged eyes. Of course, many of the injured cannot afford to pay for the operation and they may not have performed the surgery and have not been registered. This was the statistic two months ago, and until today, with the passing of 5 months since the protests, at least 600 people have lost one or both eyes.
Similarly, on November 25, 2022, dozens of ophthalmologists warned about the blinding of protesters by government agents firing bullets.
In a letter to the chair of Iran’s Association of Ophthalmologists, 140 ophthalmologists announced that a large number of citizens had lost the sight of one or both eyes with shotguns or paintball guns during the government’s efforts to suppress the protests of the Iranian people. During nationwide protests, a large number of patients with eye injured with shotguns, paintball guns or etc., have referred to medical centers.
After 5 months of research on the protesters who suffered eye damage, Human Rights Monitor calls out the Iranian regime for its “crimes against humanity”. It also calls on the United Nations, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran and all human rights defenders to demand immediate action to investigate the brutal suppression and killing of innocent protesters and to take immediate and effective measures to stop the killing of people by the ruling religious fascism.