One of the things about Iran that isn’t generally understood is that its population is at least 40% ethnic minorities. There are Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, Azeris and Baluchis for example. And of course there are religious minorities, Jews, Sunnis, Christians and Bahai, who also are persecuted.

So what happens when one of these groups revolts? It’s happening now in northwestern Iran, where the Kurds predominate. Last week a young woman who works at a hotel was introduced to a man who worked for the regime. He attempted to rape her and she fled. In the course of fleeing she fell or jumped from a high balcony and died.

Word got around the Kurdish majority of Mahabad and protesters marched on the hotel demanding #JusticeForFarinaz. Protests have continued at least through Sunday and spread to other Kurdish cities.

The pan-Arab daily, A Sharq al Awsat reports:

The protests have now spread to other cities in the country with large Kurdish populations, Hussein Yazdanpanah, the secretary-general of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (KFP), a Kurdish–Iranian opposition group based in Iraqi Kurdistan, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.

“The protests have now spread from Mahabad to the cities of Dukan, Shanu, Marivan, Sardasht, and Sahneh,” all in Iran’s northwestern region, Yazdanpanah said.

Iranian security services were sent from the nearby cities of Hamadan, Esfahan, and Kirman to contain the protests, clashing with the demonstrators and arresting more than 200, most whom came from Mahabad, he added.

Yazdanpanah claims that his organization, KFP, has urged Kurds to take to the streets peacefully. Less delicately he claims that his group has fighters ready to take on government security forces. He said that so far three protesters have been killed and dozens more injured. There are reports that as part of its crackdown on the Kurds, the Iranian regime has cut telephone and internet connections to the region.

These protests aren’t getting the attention that the Green movement got in 2009. And President Obama stayed quiet then so as not to upset the Iranian authorities. With Obama believing that a nuclear deal with Iran is within reach and even less publicity, there is no way he will make Kurdish rights and Kurdish persecution an issue.

Still it is disturbing the degree to which the administration curries favor with tyrants of Tehran and remains indifferent to the yearning for freedom of those oppressed by the regime.

[Photo: ARA News / YouTube ]