Iranians Torch a Police Station in Sistan-Baluchestan
Heavy clashes erupted in the city of Zahedan in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province on Friday after an angry mob stormed a police station, leading to a firefight.
The incident took place following Friday prayers at police station 16 on Razi Street in west Zahedan, a few blocks away from a mosque, according to local reports.
At least two deaths and dozens of injuries have been reported in local media, but the exact toll remains unclear. The injured have been admitted to hospitals.
Videos circulating on social media showed gory scenes of wounded people being taken away amid plumes of smoke and the sound of intermittent gunfire in the background.
State media said unidentified gunmen opened fire and threw Molotov cocktail at the police station, leading to an intense firefight.
However, other reports said the assailants were unarmed, but pelted stones at the police who responded with live fire.
Later, angry protesters set ablaze public properties, banks and police cars across the city, according to eye witnesses.
Tensions have been running high in recent days in the Sunni-majority province that borders Pakistan over the death of a young Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody.
#Iran IRGC says another of its senior officers killed in Sistan-Baluchestan / Zahedan — 20 deaths so far & many injured — clashes often due to poverty in the southeast, drug smuggling gangs, plus rebels from the Baluchi minority & Sunni Muslim extremist groups (REU)
— Rozita Riazati (@RozitaRiazati) October 1, 2022
However, media reports also point to another case in the province that has inflamed the situation — the alleged sexual harassment of a 15-year-old girl by a police officer in the neighboring port city of Chabahar.
The incident, which was reported earlier this month, has drawn widespread anger and outrage in the border province with people calling for justice and accountability.
Meanwhile, following Friday’s incident, the top Sunni cleric in Zahedan, Maulvi Abdul Hamid, appealed for peace and unity.
He also urged authorities to investigate what he called “bitter and unfortunate” events.