Dozens of villagers in Agh Dareh Vasta, in Takab, West Azerbaijan province, were detained by Iranian police on 30 July during a violent crackdown on their protest for job opportunities.
The villagers had gathered in front of the local gold mine to demand that provincial officials fulfil their promises of employing local workers in the mine.
The police fired on the protestors, injuring at least three civilians, Armin Nikzad, Nasser Bahramian and Hojjat Momenzadeh, who were then transferred to medical centres in Zanjan, Zanjan province, and Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan province.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that officials promised to employ local workers in the gold mine during a visit to the village last year but have yet to take any action.
In addition, on 31 July, a police convoy raided the village and detained several residents by beating them.
The state-run Kurdpress news agency reported: “Despite the significant revenues generated by this mine in recent years, the management of the mine has not paid attention to the demands of the people of this region and has refrained from meeting their minimum demands. As a result of this neglect, we are witnessing such events, and the security forces are forced to intervene to maintain order and calmness. According to local witnesses, the Agh Dareh Vasta mine in the city of Takab was supposed to employ local workers as per the intervention of the prosecutor’s office, but they broke their promise and even fired some of the villagers.”
Following the suppression of the protesting civilians in the village, a convoy of police forces from Takab raided the village on 31 July and, without a judicial order, detained dozens of villagers by beating them.
The names of some of the villagers arrested are Khalil Aftabi, Esmaeil Teymouri, Jamal Ejlali, Ramin Teymouri, Zahed Bahramnezhad, Ahmad Aftabi, Abdollah Aftabi, Zakaria Yar-Ahmadi, Farhad Anousheh, Khezr Bahramian, Payam Bahramian, Abdollah Khosravi, Kamel Khosravi, Khaled Momeni, Ali Momeni, Aref Momeni, Mozaffar Parmoudeh and his son, Mohammad Khosravi, Adel Khosravi, Mehran Khosravi, Esmaeil Moumizadeh, Ali Moumizadeh and Asghar Yar-Ahmadi.
On 31 July, the families of those arrested protested in front of the police station in Takab, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of their loved ones.
In June 2017, civil rights activist Amir Chamani reported on Radio Zamaneh and wrote about the suppression of a protest and the sentencing of some workers who were fired from the mines in the village.
On 15 June 2017, some residents of Agh Dareh Olya, Vasta, Sofla, and Angourad villages gathered in front of a factory to protest severe unemployment in the region, caused by the destruction of pastures and the collapse of businesses. They were seeking work in the mine.
They emphasized that the mine was located in their village pastures, and most of the workers employed there were non-native. Only a few locals worked in the mine with seasonal and insecure contracts.
These people had gathered in front of the factory to protest, but their protest was suppressed by mine owners’ complaints and police interference, resulting in 13 injuries.