(Photo credit: Reuters)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited the western city of Sanandaj on 1 December, the capital of Iran’s Kurdistan province and one of the cities where protests initially broke out following the death of Mahsa Amini. Amini’s death in September sparked nationwide protests that have, at times, devolved into violent riots.
“The enemies were under the impression that they could destabilize Kurdistan by inciting discontent, but they failed to mind the fact that the once young sapling of the Islamic Republic has now grown into a firm and stable tree in Kurdistan and other parts of the country,” Raisi said during a speech.
“Counterrevolution elements made a scandalous miscalculation as usual as part of their continued [acts of] betrayal … They thought that they could achieve their malicious goals by causing chaos, insecurity, and terrorist acts, but they were dismissive of the fact that the noble people of Kurdistan have had … thousands of martyrs in the Revolution,” Raisi added, in reference to the 1980-1988 war with Iraq.
He went on to claim that “the new generation, who live in this region, like their mothers and fathers who foiled the plans of the enemy, will do the same and prove that they will not follow the will of the enemies, especially the United States.”
On Monday, Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) revealed that “more than 300 people” have died during the unrest.
This marked the first time since September that an Iranian official provided an updated death toll, as unofficial counts by western-based and funded NGOs – often peddled by Saudi-funded media – have placed the figure closer to 500 deaths.
Raisi’s visit to Sanandaj came just two days after his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who provided Tehran with an outline of the security plan agreed upon between Baghdad and Erbil – the capital of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) – in a bid to prevent an Iranian ground incursion against Kurdish separatist groups operating in northern Iraq.
IRGC officials have previously warned that the IKR is host to “1,200 military camps [with] 3,000 armed terrorists.”
According to Iranian intelligence, Israel has, on multiple occasions, trained these armed groups before sending them across the border to engage in “terrorism and other disruptive actions.”
This claim was arrogantly corroborated by former US national security advisor John Bolton, who last month revealed that separatist groups in western Iran are being trained and armed in the IKR in an attempt to unseat the government in Tehran.