ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - One of Iran’s most prominent religious orators and a favorite of the country’s supreme leader took part in the operation against Kurdish opposition parties last week which took the life of a one-day-old baby, as domestic anti-government protests show no sign of stopping.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Tasnim News published a video showing Haj Mahdi Rasuli preparing long missiles and then firing heavy artillery towards locations in the Kurdistan Region.
In the video, Rasuli chants along with soldiers praising Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussein, in an undisclosed location near Iran’s border with the Kurdistan Region as multiple rocket launchers in the background fire missile after missile towards the Region.
The IRGC has shelled the border areas in the Kurdish region for the past 12 days. The guards fired 72 short range ballistic missiles and scores of suicide drones on September 28 at camps and positions of the Kurdish opposition parties, killing one child and at least 16 adults including two women.
Rasuli is considered a favorite orator of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and orated to him in August during the mourning ceremony of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, revered by all Muslims and subject to annual 40 days of mourning by Shiite Muslims.
The reasons behind Tasnim News publishing the video one week after the operation are unclear; however the underlying religious connotations are evident. This is not the first time the IRGC associates attacks against Kurds to religion. In fact, last week’s operation was code-named “Ya RasullAllah,” a reference to Prophet Mohammed.
The authorities in Tehran have been under constant pressure from angry protesters across the country over the last three weeks following the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a young Kurdish woman, while in police custody in Tehran.
At least 154 people have died including a number of security forces and paramilitary Basij as well as a number of teenagers. Thousands of protesters are detained including scores of journalists and women rights activists.
Ayatollah Khamenei ignored the demands of the protesters when he spoke on Monday and instead blamed the US, Israel, and “treacherous Iranians” living abroad for fomenting unrest in the country.
Mahdi Rasuli was born in 1988 in Zanjan near Tehran and his father was killed two years later in Kurdistan province according to a report in ILNA.
A twitter user commented on the video o0f Rasuli firing the missile and stated “we loved this.”