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Two Dead, Four Wounded As Air Force Guards Fire On Civilians In Iran

Clash between Local residents and guards in an airbase near Mahmoudabad in northern of Iran. August 10, 2019

Media in Iran reported Saturday that a clash took place in the northern Mazendran province around an army air force base during which at least two people were killed, and four others wounded.

Fars news agency quoted local sources as saying that the clash started over a dispute about land ownership in the Mahmoud Abad region.

The government’s official news website IRNA reported that security forces at the base opened fire on the people and government employees who were trying to enforce a court decision over the ownership issue.

IRNA says a court in Mazanderan had ruled that lands occupied by the air force around a village should be vacated in favor of the residents in the area.

Ahmad Hossein Zadegan, the governor of the province told IRNA that the government will deal with those responsible for the deaths of citizens and expressed his sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones.

The video in this @RadioFarda_ tweet shows people taking cover as shots ring out and one person seems to go down.

The government reacted on a few fronts to keep the situation under control.

The military prosecutor in the province announced Sunday that several military personnel from the airbase have been arrested for opening fire on civilians, but it is not clear if there are any officers or commanders among them.

Fars says that the land parcel in question is 6,000 square meters (around 66,000 sq feet) that the air force had taken over.

ISNA news website says the clash happened as people “attacked” the base to “disarm” soldiers and reached the base’s runway.

Images show earth moving equipment at the site, which indicates local officials and the people were trying to tear down walls or fences surrounding the disputed land.

A deputy of Mazanderan’s governor has told Fars that following the clash a provincial council held a meeting and “those responsible for the incident and lawbreakers were arrested.”

It is not clear whether the deputy was referring to protesters or guards who opened fire.

Hassan Abutorabi, the head of army’s Public Affairs Office has told the media that a special meeting was held with army commanders to investigate the incident.

The base belongs to the Iranian traditional Iranian army as distinct from the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, IRGC, which is a separate army. Many high-ranking IRGC officers are also appointed as commanders in the traditional army.