Riots erupted on Thursday in the streets of Mahabad
ERBIL, Kurdistan region - At least 25 people were wounded in Thursday’s riot in the city of Mahabad, located in Iran's West Azerbajian province, and security officials said a crackdown will commence if protests continue.
“Iranian police will not stay calm forever and if the [protests] continue we will strongly crack down on the protesters,” said Alireza Radfar, a security official in Uremia, capital city of West Azarbaijan, who confirmed the number of casualties on Friday.
Radfar said seven security personnel were among the causalities. He also denied the government’s alleged use of gunfire against the hundreds of demonstrators who torched and hotel over the unexplained death of a local woman.
The incident involving Farinaz Khosrawani, 25, who was killed by a fall from the 4th floor of the Tara Hotel remains mysterious. The death was denounced by local demonstrators who suspected foul play.
Anti-government media and Kurdish protesters claimed Khosrawani jumped to her death to avoid the advances of an Iranian army officer who was allegedly
working in cooperation with the hotel's owner. These accusations have not been confirmed by Rudaw.
Arrests were reportedly made after Thursday riot, but the numbers are still unknown. It was reported on Thursday that a suspect had been arrested in connection with Khosrawani's death.
Police on Thursday used tear gas to remove hundreds of demonstrators from the area in front of the damaged Tara Hotel, leading to near riot conditions in the city some 200km from the border with Iraq's Kurdistan region.
In response to the incident and the police response, Kurdish activists took to social media to urge other cities and towns to protest against the Iranian government and show support for Khosrawani.
Protesters gathered peacefully in Sulaimani, the cultural hub of Iraq's Kurdistan region, on Friday in support of Mahabad.