Nine members of the band Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) were executed by firing squad on Tuesday (21 August) in the western Iranian border town of Paveh, the scene of recent bloody clashes between the government and Kurdish guerrillas, according to the Iranian State Radio.
TEHERAN, IRAN (AUGUST 20, 1979) (REUTERS)
SV Crowds marching through streets of Teheran chanting and waving fists
SV Crowds carrying portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini
SV Crowds around ambulances carrying bodies (3 shots)
SV Crowds chanting
CU Portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini and crowds carrying flowers (2 shots)
GV Procession passes as man sprays hose onto marchers
SV Veiled women in procession being sprayed with water
GV ZOOM TO large crowd in streets
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Background: Nine members of the band Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) were executed by firing squad on Tuesday (21 August) in the western Iranian border town of Paveh, the scene of recent bloody clashes between the government and Kurdish guerrillas, according to the Iranian State Radio. Another five Kurds were executed at the nearby town of Kermanshah, bringing to 25 the number executed since government forces took the town two days earlier. The executions coincided with growing feeling against the Kurds in Iran, and a call by the Ayatollah Khomeini to rise against the rebel Kurds. There was a big response to his call in Teheran on Monday (20 August).
It began as a funeral procession for three Revolutionary Guards killed during fighting in Kurdistan. The twenty thousand mourners vented their emotion in the Kurds's ambitions for a measure of autonomy.
As they followed the bodies to the graveside, the demonstrators shouted for the execution of two Kurdish leaders who have been denounced by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Kurdish guerrillas are charged with being 'the corrupt of the earth and waging war on God and his representatives'. The autonomy advocates are condemned as anti-revolutionaries.
There are between three and a half and four million Kurds in Iran, most of them in the western border region. Despite the feeling against them exhibited in demonstrations such as this, they remain ready to fight for some self rule. Their answer, in the last few days (August 19), was a call by the Ayatollah Khomeini for a mass mobilisation against them.
In the sniffling heat and dust of Teheran, the marchers took up the Ayatollah's call for the arrest of the leaders of the Kurds. But the Kurds were reported to be retreating into their mountain hideouts, and the few incidents reported following the government occupation of the two towns of the north-west, spoke of armed Kurds disarming revolutionary guards.