At least five porters and petty tradesmen have been killed and 14 wounded only during the month of May. It saw an increase of 137% compared to the month of April with one porter killed and seven wounded. According to reports, four porters have been shot dead and seven others wounded, just within a span of 10 days from 21st to 31st May 2018.
As the unemployment rate is in the double digits and millions live under the poverty line, Iran faces scores of domestic problems. Statistics reveal that the border provinces have the highest rates of unemployment in this country.
Thousands of people in the poverty stricken areas are forced to resort ‘kolbari’ (carrying heavy goods, on horseback or own backs), to earn a living for their families.
They sometimes young and old, have to transfer 100 to 150 kilograms on their backs across the mountains, central lands, and turbulent river in hot summer or cold winter.
More than 68,000 porters are working in Iran’s border provinces, of which 16,000 to 18,000 are in Piranshahr and Sardasht, official statistics indicate. Unofficial sources however estimate the actual number of porters to be around 350 to 500 thousand in border provinces.
In the regime’s follow-up of ‘Kolbari’ issues, several recommendations have been made; such as, the creation of ‘free zones’ along the borders, insuring ‘Kolbars’, and giving them special custom-discounts, in order to encourage and direct them across the legal borders of the country…however, nothing useful has come out of these talks; in fact, porters are faced with even more challenges now, such as the enclosure of many pathways.
Every year, hundreds of unarmed porters are killed or injured by Iranian security forces near the western borders of Iran mainly in the provinces of Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan and Kermanshah.
The IRGC unit opens regularly target these under the pretext of being smugglers.
All the while, according to the regime’s own officials the state institutions are involved in major smuggling rings, importing their goods through legal and illegal ports, and using the country’s shipping lines to have thousands upon thousands of goods delivered into the country.
Amir Khojasteh, a member of the Iranian regime’s so-called parliament, acknowledges the fact that “the volume of smuggled goods through the country’s official routes is above 80 percent.”
“I don’t know how powerful this smuggling mafia is that various documents have also been lost in the parliament and no one is held accountable in this regard. I believe this mafia, with billions of dollars, has been able to reach everywhere,” he said to the Fars news agency, affiliated to the Iranian Regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, the Iranian regime’s attorney general, described the issue of “smuggled goods and currency” as a “major predicament” with a wide-ranging scope reaching across the country.
The IRGC is one of the largest such organs with access to a high number of illegal ports. This entity is known to import huge volumes of goods into Iran, resulting in a near halt of the country’s domestic production lines.
- Iran’s armed forces shot a group of porter borders and killed one on May 1. The young porter was identified as Taher Hekmati, 33. He was married and had four children.
- On Tuesday May 1st, regime forces pursued a vehicle, belonging to a Kurd seller on “Goond Villa” Village rd. stopped it and sat fire to it after they confiscated his belongings. An informed source mentioned that he carried textile which was taken away by these forces.
- On May 5, 2018 the state security forces pursued a group of border porters and shot at them wounding a Kurd porter, Rahman Tafakhor, 45 from Piranshahr Township. An informed source said: “This Kurd border porter was shot in the leg and right now is under medical treatment at Piranshahr hospital.
- A group of border porters at zero border point were raided at by border patrol. Being chased by these patrols Naser Nojavan fell off the height and was severely injured in neck and head. Naser was transferred to Urmia medical centers and his is reported to be in dire condition.
- On May 5, 2018 a border porter from Piranshar Township, Rahman Tafakhor, 45 years old, was directly shot at by border patrols in Kani Khoda Heights and was wounded in leg.
- The state forces, shot at a group of Kurd border porters in Tateh passage. As a result, one of them, Mostafa Haji, was seriously wounded. He was transferred to Sanandaj medical centers.
- IRGC forces in Piranshahr Township (in West Azerbaijan Province) barraged at a group of Kurd border porters and sellers on May 23, 2018, as a result of which two border porters were severely injured. One of them is identified as Morad. The forces confiscated the goods of 20 of them.
- On Thursday morning, May 31, 2018, a porter identified as Kamal Mohammadi lost his life by direct shooting of the armed forces at the Baneh border.
- On May 29, 2018, the Iranian armed forces shot to a group of porters along the Sheno and Sidakan boundaries, living one dead and two injured. The victim was identified as Ribar Moradi, 28, who was married and had a child.