600+ dead, including 60 children, as Iranians fight for freedom
Credit: WMAR, Amanda Engel
As Iranians enter the third month of what they are calling a “revolution,” WMAR-2 News sat down with UBalt Professor of Mideast Studies Ramesh Sepehrrad to discuss the ongoing situation.
Sepehrrad also serves as the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Organization of Iranian American Communities or OIAC.
“What they’re doing right now is essentially challenging the regime on every front, the protests have reached more than 250 cities and towns across Iran and, obviously, the Iranian regime has responded with violence,” she tells us.
Sepehrrad adds that the death toll, currently at 600, might be much higher.
“The internet disruption in Iran is very, very severe. It’s very hard to get news from Iran.. but we’re still getting information from people coming in, risking their lives and trying to connect and send the information out,” she says.
Of the 600 killed, Seperrad says that 400 have been identified with name, age and location of where they were killed.
That includes a 10 year old boy who was shot to death in his car last week during clashes between regime forces and protesters.
Last week, the OIAC held its second congressional briefing in as many months on the issue, this time in person.
10 members of Congress spoke at the event on November 17th, though none from Maryland.
Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen have recently tweeted about the situation, but Reps. Andy Harris, Kweisi Mfume, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes haven’t tweeted about the situation since the September 20th killing of Mahsa Amini.
(Ruppersberger submitted a written statement to the October Congressional briefing by OIAC, and Representatives David Trone and Jamie Raskin were among the dozens of members of Congress to submit video statements.)
Amini’s death at the hands of the so-called “morality police” for not correctly wearing a hijab sparked the protests that have now become about so much more than head coverings.
“The greater cause for democracy, that’s what the Iranian people are fighting for,” says Sepehrrad. “This is what the Iranian people want, they want this regime gone.”
Sepehrrad was able to provide us with recent videos from inside Iran this week, with masses of people marching in the city of Piranshahr, chanting “Death to Dictators.”
Piranshahr is approximately 9 and a half hours, by car, northwest of Tehran.
There was also a video of people running from gunshots from the city of Javanrood, where massacres are being reported. (Warning: This video includes the sounds of gunshots and may be difficult to watch.)
Javanrood is 7-8 hours southwest of Tehran.
And if you’re looking for a way to help, keep talking about this, says Sepehrrad.
“I think all of us have had the opportunity to become an ally to become supporters over the Iranian people, and that is through social media support their message, send their message to your members of Congress, write to President Biden asked for action, ask for support as for meaningful ways of standing with the people of Iran, not just in words, but in action,” she says.