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World Children’s Day, and Plight of Children Killed During Iran Protests

November 20 marks World Children’s Day, an occasion to promote children’s welfare. Meanwhile, under the mullahs’ regime in Iran, security forces have killed children during the major protests that have encompassed the country in the last two months.  

Kian Pirfalak, a ten-year-old boy from Izeh, southwest Iran, was killed by security forces on November 17. He was with his family, returning home when the oppressive forces opened fire on their vehicle.  

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Videos from Kian, aspiring to become a robotic engineer, soon went viral on social media. His video of making a boat for a competition while saluting the “God of the rainbow” wrenches the heart of every human being.  

Kian was neither the first nor will be the last child killed by Iran’s genocidal regime. Since the nationwide Iran uprising began, at least 57 children have been slain. What was their crime? Trying to make a change or yearning for the same condition as other children in the free world.  

Nika Shahkarami, Sarina Ismailzadeh, Siavosh Mahmoudi, and many more underage children have lost their lives. Their videos on social media show that these innocent children were full of life and hope for a better future. They had many unrealized dreams and wishes, which ended with bullets and sticks.  

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has published the names of nearly 500 martyrs of what many spectators consider Iran’s democratic “revolution.” The youth, women, and children make up most of the victims.  

On October 13, Amnesty International released a statement condemning the killings of children, underlining that it “shed further light on the authorities’ deadly resolve to crush the widespread, ongoing protests.” 

“If the international community were a person, how would it look these children and their parents in the eye? It would lower its head in shame over its inaction against the pervasive impunity enjoyed by the Iranian authorities for their systematic crimes and gross violations of human rights,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  

Indeed, what allows the clerical regime to continue with its killing spree is the “pervasive impunity” created due to the world community’s ignorance of what has been happening in Iran.  

While killing children, the Iranian regime claims to fight vandalism and insecurity

In June 1981, the regime’s then-supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini ordered security forces to clamp down on a large protest organized by the MEK in Tehran. The security forces gunned down protesters and arrested many more. The day after, Iran’s state-run newspaper Etalat featured photos of hanged teenage arrestees, asking their parents to identify them.  

Mohsen Mohammad Bagher, a paralyzed child actor, was arrested in the early 1980s and was later executed along with 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. Most of the victims were MEK members and supporters.  

The crisis of impunity in Iran allowed Ebrahim Raisi, one of the main culprits of the 1988 massacre, to be selected as the genocidal regime’s president. Raisi and the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, are now using the same impunity to kill Iranian children.  

Generation after generation, Iranian children have tasted nothing but misery and deprivation. Iran’s ruling theocracy sent millions of school children to the frontlines during the Iran-Iraq war, using them as cannon fodders. Iran has one of the highest numbers of labor children. Daily videos showing children searching for food in trash cans circulate on social media.  

The share of Iranian children from their rich country under the mullahs’ regime has been nothing but poverty. Yet, Iranian youth have shown their unwavering determination to take back Iran in the last four decades, particularly in the past two months.  

Despite the regime’s brutality in killing children and youth, Iranians continue their uprising. Mothers of martyrs, like Kian’s mother, vow to avenge their children, and every funeral turns into another protest.  

This bravery deserves international support, and western governments should go beyond condemnations. True solidarity with the Iranian people recognizes the right to self-defense and holds the regime accountable for its crimes against humanity. These steps end four decades of impunity for the ruling theocracy and help Iranians in their struggle to secure a bright future for future generations.