Exclusive: Father Tells Radio Farda How His Son Was Shot Dead During Iran Protests

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Source: Radio Farda

Pooya
Pooya Bakhtiari was shot in the head during protests in Iran on November 16, 2019. Undated photo

Radio Farda has interviewed the father of a young man whose son was killed by security forces during recent anti-government protests in Iran.

“For five years, I fought in the battlefield to push back the enemy from our homeland, and now they have killed my son merely for protesting an increase in gasoline prices”, says an Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), veteran.

Speaking to Radio Farda’s Kianoush Farid, Manouchehr Bakhtiari remembers the sad day the Islamic Republic security forces shot and killed his 27-year-old son, Pouya.

“My son was hit and killed on Saturday, November 16, while standing beside his mother in Mehr Shahr city, Karaj, (about 35 miles) west of the capital city, Tehran.”

During the second day of widespread protests against an overnight three-fold increase in gasoline prices, a bullet shattered Pouya’s skull while he was marching along with his mother and sister. He died on the way to the hospital, his father remembers.

An electrical engineer, Pouya, used to manage a family-owned workshop.

“My son loved Persian poetry and Iran’s history, and in the meantime was planning to emigrate to Canada,” Manouchehr Bakhtiari notes with a sigh.

Nevertheless, it took the judicial authorities a full day to release the body of the young engineer.

Citing his wife, Bakhtiari tells Radio Farda that “All of a sudden, I saw people carrying a body. It was my son’s.”

Pouya’s mother is so shocked that her husband says, “She is mentally devastated since witnessing her son’s skull shattered by a bullet.”

Bakhtiari insists that his wife, son, and daughter had gone out merely for protesting the gasoline price hike.

“I am a humble businessman who fought for five years to push back Iraqi forces from Iranian territory,” Bakhtiari reiterates, adding, “Now, I am proud that my son lost his life for the freedom of Iran.”

The unexpected increase in gasoline prices on November 14 almost immediately triggered a series of widespread protests across the country.

Soon, on Saturday, November 16, the protests turned into enraged demonstrations against the Islamic Republic regime, dominated by the clergy.

Responding to the spontaneous rallies, the Interior Ministry shut down the internet to deprive people of linking with each other and circulating footage of the demonstrations on social media.

Based on the data collected by Amnesty International and Radio Farda, security forces killed at least 143, injuring and arresting thousands more.

The Islamic Republic authorities have described the protests as “an all-out World War” against the country’s political system.

Since suppressing the protests with an iron fist, the authorities, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have been boasting of “victory over a bunch of thugs and hooligans.”

In this video plainclothesmen approach a protester and fire at him at close range, then another agents hits him with a sharp object.

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