Iran Protests: Doctors Treating Wounded Protesters Face Deadly State Violence
One Female Doctor Reportedly Killed, At Least Six Arrested
October 31, 2022 – Reports of at least one doctor being killed by state security forces and at least six others being arbitrarily arrested at peaceful protests in Tehran and Mashhad indicate Iran’s medical community is facing deadly state violence as the Iranian government deploys lethal force to crush the country’s growing protest movement, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Doctors who’ve spoken out against Islamic Republic forces occupying medical buildings and who are trying to treat wounded protesters are engaging in a courageous defense of the right to life and deserve international solidarity,” said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.
“Members of the medical community shouldn’t have to risk their lives to call on authorities to allow them to provide care in a safe environment, yet that’s what’s happening in Iran as we speak,” he added.
“The international medical community should join human rights groups in urgently calling on the Iranian government to allow doctors to protect human life without the threat of death or arbitrary arrest,” said Ghaemi. “And call for the immediate release of all detained medical workers.”
Many people in Iran who’ve been wounded amid the protests are too afraid to go to a hospital for treatment because protesters seeking medical help have been detained, according to several accounts shared with CBS News from both inside and outside Iran.
On October 25, members of the Tehran Medical Council issued a statement condemning state security forces patrolling medical buildings in search of protesters: “As members of the Tehran Medical Council, we condemn the military, police, security, and unidentified forces for entering medical universities and hospitals and demand that they stop.”
The statement also called “for the protection of the detainees and their families.”
Female Surgeon Killed, One Physician Missing
A general surgeon from the city of Zanjan, Dr. Parisa Bahmani, was killed by a bullet fired by state security forces who were deployed to crush a peaceful protest in front of the headquarters of the Tehran Medical Council on October 26, reported Iranian journalist Asieh Amini.
The night before the October 26 rally, general surgeon Dr. Hashem Moazenzadeh was arrested by state security agents, and the authorities have not released any information about his status or whereabouts, a source with detailed knowledge of the case informed CHRI.
“The abduction of Dr. Moazenzadeh by the security establishment before the rally was for no reason other than silencing well-known personalities and civil rights activists,” said the source, who requested anonymity for security purposes.
“We found out Dr. Moazenzadeh was nabbed by [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] IRGC intelligence agents, but so far nobody has officially answered any questions about his condition. His safety is in real danger,” the source added.
Following Moazenzadeh’s arrest, PALNA, an independent Iranian medical community channel on the Telegram messaging app issued a statement demanding Dr. Moazenzadeh’s immediate release.
At the same rally, Dr. Moayed Alavian, the president of the Tehran Medical Council was injured after being punched by a state security agent.
“I am unable to carry out my legal duties at this time,” he said in a resignation statement the next day.
That same day, Dr. Mohammad Razi, who also attended the October 26 rally, also stepped down as vice president of the Tehran Medical Council, stating in an Instagram post:
“…I went to the Doctor’s House to go to the Medical Council office and help organize the doctors’ gathering and witnessed a bitter and unforgettable scene…“Dozens of motorcyclists and security officials [confronting] female doctors, and when I asked them to bring one of the female doctors—who was being dragged to the ground—into the organization, one of the commanders pushed me!”
According to Dr. Razi, doctors were arrested during the protest though it is not known exactly how many. Dr. Mohammad Raeiszadeh, the Iranian Medical Council’s national president, has initiated an investigation into the arrest of its members.
Following is a listing of 5 other doctors who’ve been arbitrarily arrested. CHRI emphasizes that this list is by no means exhaustive, and the actual number is likely higher but cannot be updated at this time due to Iranian authorities blocking communications from inside Iran and prohibiting independent media from entering the country.
- On October 29, state security forces arrested Dr. Alireza Sedaghat, the head of the local Medical Council, along with his wife Dr. Bita Mirzaei, the council’s technical deputy, in Mashhad.
- Also on October 29, Dr. Reyhaneh Mokhtarian was arrested following a speech she gave at a gathering of doctors and supporters on October 20, during which attendees peacefully chanted anti-state slogans such as “Death to the dictator!” and “Woman, Life, Freedom!”
- Dr. Dariush Farhoud, 84, known as the father of genetic science in Iran, was abducted by the security forces on October 30. The state ISNA news agency reported that he returned to his workplace after being detained for 26 hours.
- Dr. Ramin Neshasteh was arrested in Saqqez on October 10 for helping an injured protester.
Doctors who attended the October 20 gathering at the Mashhad Medical Council issued a statement calling for an end to “all forms of violence in every level of society” and “prevention of physical, mental and spiritual harm against children and teenagers in particular,” referring to the killings and arrests of children accused of joining peaceful protests.