Hundreds of Iranian Kurds have clashed violently with police in the northwestern Iranian town of Mahabad, an historical centre of Kurdish nationalism, according to Iran’s State News Agency (IRNA).
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The rioting, which came just days before Iran is due to elect a new president, was sparked by news from across the border in Iraq that former rebel leader Massoud Barzani was sworn in as the first president of Iraqi Kurdistan.
IRNA said a number of vehicles and shopfronts were damaged “when a group of excited people” — numbering around 300 — took to the streets of the town “on the pretext of joy because Massoud Barzani got elected”.
“In response to a police request to disperse, the crowd burned tyres and inflicted damage to election campaign posters and threw stones and bricks at police,” IRNA said.
IRNA said the unrest died down shortly before midnight, but said Mahabad’s main street was littered with stones, bricks, shattered mosaics and destroyed Iranian election campaign posters.