Iranian Security Forces Arrest Two Kurdish Citizens Amid Rising Tensions

Two Kurdish people from the western Iranian city of Saqqez have been arrested by Iranian security forces and subsequently transferred to an undisclosed location, a Kurdish rights group based in France said on June 27.

The arrest of the two Kurds -- identified as Milad Fazelpour and Heyman Hosseini – was carried out on June 26 without the presentation of a judicial order, raising concerns about due process, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network.

Security officers reportedly raided the residences of Fazelpour and Hosseini in Saqqez, which is also the hometown of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman whose death in September 2022 after her arrest by Iran's morality police triggered nationwide protests.

The exact reasons for the arrests remain unclear as does the identity of the security institution responsible.

The arrests come amid a backdrop of escalating tensions in the region. In the wake of the Women, Life, Freedom protests that have swept across the region in recent months, pressure on civil activist groups and individuals in Kurdistan has significantly increased.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network has reported a disturbing number of arrests in the region. According to the network’s collected data, at least 70 Kurdish Iranian citizens across various cities and villages in the provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Khuzestan have been arrested on political charges by security and judicial institutions in the last month.

Anger over Amini's death in police custody prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets nationwide to demand more freedoms and women's rights. The widespread unrest represents the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.

Amini's death, which officials blamed on a heart attack, touched off a wave of anti-government protests in cities across the country. The authorities have responded to the unrest with a harsh crackdown that rights groups say has killed more than 500 people, including 71 children.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda