Tue, 20 Apr 2021

Citizens and security forces have clashed in Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province, a day after the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) opened fire on fuel smugglers, killing as many as 10 of them.

Five people are reported to have been injured in the violence on February 23 in the city of Saravan.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the clashes.

The IRGC had attempted to stop fuel smuggling by digging holes along the border crossing, but reportedly encountered protests by men who carry fuel over the border to make a living.

The IRGC then opened fire on the protesters, killing and injuring several of them, according to reports that RFE/RL could not independently verify.

Reports suggest that on February 23 some of the families of those killed stormed the governor's office in Saravan and clashed with police.

The European-based Campaign of Baluch Activists said several protesters had been injured and that police used tear gas to disperse them. At least one police vehicle was reportedly set on fire by the protesters.

Sistan-Baluchistan, one of Iran's poorest provinces, is a volatile area near Iran's borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan where drug smugglers and militant groups operate.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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