Shocked by the indiscriminate killing of children during ongoing protests in Iran, many are asking the international community to intervene and restrain the regime.
Security forces have killed at least 58 children as young as two in the past two months. Authorities say 54 security forces and regime loyalists were killed in clashes with protesters in the past two months. Many believe government casualties are much lower as in several cases authorities have tried to highjack the victims as their own “martyrs”.
One such victim was ten-year-old Kian Pirfalak who was reportedly shot by plainclothesmen in Izeh in the southwestern province of Khuzestan on November 16. Authorities have blamed “terrorists” for Kian’s death and used his photo in their propaganda posters.
Kian died and his father was seriously injured when the family including Kian’s younger brother came under fire in the family car on their way home on the street.
In a fiery speech at her son’s burial, Kian’s mother said she had no doubt about who had shot her family and implicitly accused Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of responsibility for her young son’s killing. Authorities have put her under great pressure to retract her accusations.
One of the very first children shot dead by security forces was a two-year-old boy in Zahedan. The boy from a poor family has only been mentioned by his last name, Mirshekar. He was shot in front of his home in a poor neighborhood of Zahedan, capital of southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan Province, on September 30.
The two-year-old boy was one of the 13 children killed during the crackdown which has come to be known as the “Bloody Friday”. A total of 96 people protesting peacefully, and bystanders were shot dead in Zahedan.
Many Iranians on social media are now referring to the Islamic Republic as the “child-killing regime”. They have also created hashtags such as “Child-Killing Khamenei” and “Child-Killing Regime” which are quickly rising in popularity.
Some have highlighted remarks by an extremist regime ideologue, Ali-Akbar Raefipour, who in one of his speeches claimed Israel used child killing as a strategy to break and subdue Palestinians.
“When you are facing popular forces instead of an army you will have to kill people, kill women and children, deliberately. Kill so many that people try to stop those who are fighting [against Israel] and tell them it’s enough, let go,” Raefipour said in the speech.
Probably in reference to such views, and the large number of children killed in such a short time, one per day, many are saying the regime is employing the same tactic and “systematically” targeting children to inspire fear and suppress the protest movement.
Over twenty prominent Iranian rights defenders urged the United Nations to condemn Iran's government for killing, wounding, and arresting children in a letter Sunday a copy of which Iran International has received.
The letter which is addressed to the secretary general of the United Nations and other UN officials, including secretary general and the chair and members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, United Nations Human Rights Council, and UNICEF.
The signatories of the letter are all prominent lawyers and rights defenders with a strong record of criticizing human rights violations by the Islamic Republic. They have called for adoption of an international mechanism to document human rights violations by the regime and urged UNICEF to use all the tools at its disposal to make the Iran’s government abide by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which it is a state party.
According to the latest report by Iran Human Rights Activists (HRANA) Saturday, security forces shot or beat to death a total of 402 protesters until Friday. The number of those arrested during this time, including children, is over 16,700 HRANA said in its report.