Campaign aims to put spotlight on children killed by Iranian regime

A Vancouver woman is among the international activists who are raising awarness of the dozens of children killed in Iran, by the ruling regime. Negar Mojtahedi reports.

Nine-year-old Iranian boy Kian Pirfalak had dreams of becoming a robotics engineer one day.

His young life was taken on Nov. 16, 2022 when he was shot and killed while sitting in his parents vehicle in Izeh, Iran.

His family were on their way home while anti-regime nationwide protests took place in the background.

“When the IRGC agents approached their car, he (Kian) told his dad let’s trust the police this time,” said Shiva Mahbobi, a former political prisoner, activist from the group Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI).

According to Mahbobi, Kian’s parents and other witnesses say the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) shot at the young boy, killing him and injuring his father. His mother and father have recently sued the government agents for the killing of their son.

Mahbobi said Kian is one of 76 confirmed cases of children killed by the Iranian regime since the start of the Women, Life, Freedom movement sparked by the death of Masha Jina Amini in September.

The number of dead, Mahbobi said, is likely far higher as many children from Balochistan do not have birth certificates. In other cases, Mahbobi said, many families are too scared to speak out.

Children who activists say have died at the hands of the Iranian regime.

Children who activists say have died at the hands of the Iranian regime.

Sally Nicholls / Global News

Mahbobi is the co-author of a new report documenting the cases of these children, written after speaking directly with their families and sources inside Iran.

The report also outlines other crimes committed by the Islamic Republic against Iranian children.

“Other aspects of the report focus on the children who have been abducted, taken to prison, unknown places, been tortured, raped, given psychedelic drugs,” Mahbobi said.

“It’s really heartbreaking too when these children talk about how many times they’ve been raped in the prison,” added Mahbobi.

The report also documents at least 300 chemical attacks on schools since November, as well as children who were forced into what Iran’s Ministry of Education calls “reforming” centres.

“The report we got from these kids and their families, they’ve been taken there, they’ve been tortured, physically, psychologically. They’ve been forced into false confession,” Mahbobi said.

The psychological impact on these children and their mental and physical development is also examined.

The report lists the names of children who met with brutal violence like Bita Kiani who, according to Mahbobi, lost her eyesight when the IRGC shot her in the eye with a pellet gun as she was playing on her balcony in Isfahan.

Vancouver resident Tara, who is concealing her last name for her safety, is part of the NGO Iranian Justice Collective (IJC).

Their online campaign ‘Say Their Names’ shares the stories of children killed by their own government to honour and protect their memories.

“The killing of nine-year-old Kian Pirfalak was a moment that broke my heart,” Tara told Global News.

Tara said by creating the website the IJC is trying to collect information and evidence for the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Iran.

Doing so, she hopes, will help bring justice for these children and hold the regime accountable.

“The only response to this violation is false information or denial. In many cases their response has been, ‘Oh they have been killed by accident, dog attacks or even suicide,’” she said.

It’s cases like Kian’s that motivate her to be the voice of those children and the families who have been silenced in Iran.

A hand-written exercise in which young Kian said he believe he and Elon Musk were the two happiest and luckiest people in the world.

A hand-written exercise in which young Kian said he believe he and Elon Musk were the two happiest and luckiest people in the world.

In a handwritten note for a school assignment, Kian was asked who he thinks is the happiest and luckiest person in the world? He responded by saying himself and Elon Musk. His dream of becoming robotics engineer, never realized.

Activists in Vancouver, Toronto and dozens of cities around the world will be marking what would have been Kian’s 10’th birthday on Saturday June 10.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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