In the Kurdish town of Javanrood, in the northwestern province of Kermanshah, a teenager lies on the street, bleeding profusely.
Despite shock and horror, several people step forward to offer assistance, with one trying to stem the bleeding from the boy's hip.
Suddenly, the sound of gunfire sends the people into a frenzy. They pick up the boy and carry him away to safety, while shots continue to ring out.
Hiva Azimi, 16, was a remarkable athlete, having earned the title of vice champion of Kermanshah province in boxing just months before nationwide protests erupted in September 2022.
His accomplishment earned him recognition and respect from his community.
Shot with a Machine Gun
The residents of Javanrood were left reeling on November 21, when 16-year-old Bahaedin Veisi and school teacher Irfan Kakaei were killed by security forces.
Hiva and his father were among the mourners who gathered at the cemetery to pay their respects to the two victims.
On their way back from the cemetery to the homes of Veisi and Kakai, the mourners faced armed forces who were blocking the road. Reports later revealed that government forces used a DShK heavy machine gun to break up the crowd.
The number of casualties was staggering, and hospitals in the area called for blood donations to treat the wounded.
One Leg Left Paralyzed
Hiva’s father was by his side when he was shot. He rushed him to Javanrood’s hospital, which was overcrowded and lacked adequate equipment. Those in critical condition were therefore transferred to Taleghani Hospital in Kermanshah.
Hiva and others were transported in a minibus and endured a painful journey to the provincial capital.
Local sources told IranWire that dozens of people were wounded on November 21, but many did not seek medical treatment due to fear of being arrested.
Hiva survived the brutal repression.
Doctors removed the bullet from his arm and inserted a platinum plate to repair his crushed elbow bone.
Another bullet hit his leg, shattered the femur and severely damaged the sciatic nerve, leaving him unable to move the leg for nearly six months now despite undergoing surgery and being hospitalized for 20 days.
Dr. Rouzbeh Esfandiari, a former doctor with Tehran Emergency Services, tells IranWire that Hiva needs to consult a neurosurgeon.
“Paralysis occurs when the [sciatic] nerve is ruptured... Regeneration of nerves is extremely difficult because they lack the ability to regenerate,” Dr. Esfandiari says. “Even with nerve repair, restoring the nerve to its pre-injury state is improbable. Consequently, the injured person suffers from muscle atrophy in the thigh as well as the front and back of the leg, making it impossible for Hiva to bend his leg or raise his toes."
Hiva has two brothers. He was in the 11th grade when he was shot and has been unable to attend school since then.