At least 304 people have been killed in the recent Iran protests, reported Amnesty International on Monday. It accused the security forces of “massacring” unarmed protestors as a video obtained showed Iran security firing on protestors “who did not pose any risk”. Amnesty called the Iranian government’s action, a “vicious crackdown”.
The information is based on “harrowing testimony from eyewitnesses,” said Philip Luther, the Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty. Thousands of protesters, as well as journalists, human rights defenders and students, were arrested, the London-based rights group said. Additionally, the report also mentioned that most of the deaths were caused by gunshots to the head, heart, and other vital organs, indicating security forces were “shooting to kill.”
The nationwide protests gained momentum on November 15 after a shocking announcement about the rise in the price of fuel by 50 per cent. Angry protestors torched petrol stations and government offices in response.
The government of Iran said the money was needed for country’s most poverty-stricken citizens to offset US sanctions that were brought back last year after Washington pulled out of a historic nuclear deal with world powers.
The Iranian authorities have not announced an official death toll. However, Tehran previously rejected Amnesty’s accounting of the number of people killed, terming it ‘fabricated.’ Also, officials in Tehran have accused other countries of helping in the demonstrations.
Reporting the situation of Iran, Manoureh Mills, Iran researcher at Amnesty, said the investigation of the killings and arrests during the protest have not ended.
Amnesty reported that children as young as 15 were jailed along with adults.
Victims and witnesses told Amnesty that Iranian security forces raided medical centres across the country to arrest wounded demonstrators.
Ali Fathollah-Nejad, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre, called the protests and killings as “a traumatising experience to Iranian society, even among the conservative parts.”