Man kills twelve relatives over family dispute

KERMAN, IRAN – A chilling family dispute turned deadly in southeast Iran on Saturday, as a 30-year-old man fatally shot 12 of his kin, marking one of the most lethal shootings the nation has witnessed in recent history.

The tragic incident occurred in a rural region within the Kerman province. The man, whose identity remains undisclosed, reportedly targeted his father, brother, and other family members amidst a heated family disagreement.

The mournful gathering of locals during the funeral ceremony in Kerman bore witness to the grief-stricken aftermath of the violence. Details from the semiofficial ISNA news agency revealed that the perpetrator used a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a weapon not commonly found in the hands of Iranian civilians.

Shootings, while not unheard of, are relatively rare in Iran, especially those of such magnitude. The country’s gun laws permit only hunting rifles, which are prevalent in rural areas. This incident, therefore, marks a significant deviation from the norm and is one of the highest death tolls due to gun violence in Iran.

The country has seen its share of gun violence in the past. In 2022, a dismissed employee of a state-owned financial conglomerate wreaked havoc at his former workplace, killing three and injuring five before taking his own life in the western part of the country. Similarly, in 2016, a 26-year-old man shot 10 of his family members in a rural area in southern Iran.

The recent surge in violence in Iran coincides with a worsening economic situation. The country grapples with escalating inflation and rising unemployment, exacerbated by crippling US sanctions.