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Amnesty International Raises Minimum Death Toll Of Iran Protests To 208

A bank damaged during protests in Shiraz, Iran. The graffiti says "Death to Khamenei, death to Rouhani, Death to the three brothers", meaning Larijanis. November 17, 2019

In its new report published on Monday December 2, Amnesty International (AI) says that it believes the number of people killed during demonstrations in Iran has risen to at least 208, while the real figure is likely to be higher.

Earlier in three separate statements, AI had estimated the number of the victims as 106, 143, and 161, respectively.

Amnesty International says it compiled the death toll from reports that credibility were ascertained by interviewing a range of sources inside and outside Iran, including victims' relatives, journalists and human rights activists involved in gathering the information. As the ultimate step, AI crosschecked the information and officially published them.

The previous figure increased after new information emerged about the number of deaths in the city of Shahriar, 42 kilometers (26 miles) west of the Iranian capital city, Tehran.

AI has described Shahriar (population 328,000) as one of the cities with the highest death toll in the recent anti-Islamic Republic protests.

"This alarming death toll is further evidence that Iran's security forces went on a horrific killing spree that left at least 208 people dead in less than a week. This shocking death toll displays the Iranian authorities' shameful disregard for human life," said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

Iranians walk past next to a post office that was burned and destroyed during the protests in the city of Shahriar, Alborz province, November 20, 2019
Iranians walk past next to a post office that was burned and destroyed during the protests in the city of Shahriar, Alborz province, November 20, 2019

Meanwhile, Luther called upon the international community to help ensure the accountability of those responsible for the massacre.

Earlier, AI had insisted that most of the victims were shot and killed by bullets.

According to information gathered by the organization, families of victims have been threatened and warned not to speak to the media or to hold funeral ceremonies for their loved ones. Some families are also being forced to make payments to have the bodies of their loved ones returned to them, in what amounts to extortion by the government.

Two weeks after widespread rallies held in Iran to protest an overnight three-fold increase in gasoline prices, the Islamic Republic authorities are still reluctant to officially publish the number of people killed, injured and arrested by security forces.

Nevertheless, they have preferred to reject independent reports on the number of protesters killed during the four-day demonstrations in more than 100 cities across Iran.

The Islamic Republic Prosecutor General, a mid-ranking cleric, Mohammad Javad Montazeri, said on November 30, "Fortunately, people outside Iran have no access to the data and information (about the protests' casualties), and their reports are not valid."

The Deputy Interior Minister in political affairs, Kamal Orf, has also dismissed foreign reports on the death toll, insisting that the Islamic Republic authorities are busy collecting data to decide how many people were killed in the four-day rallies.

In the meantime, the foreign-based Green Movement website Kalemeh, close to Iran’s opposition Green Movement says that the security forces have killed at least 366 during the brutal suppression of the protesters.

An outspoken representative of Tehran to Majles (parliament), Mahmoud Sadeqi warned in a tweet on Monday that should the authorities present no official data about the casualties, the members of the parliament would have no option other than file a report on the subject, relying on people's testimonies.

Ms. Paravaneh Salahshouri, another lawmaker has also referring to the significant difference in estimates reflected in several independent reports, called for the speedy formation of a "truth-finding" committee to investigate the case.

The response of security forces was so harsh that the Minister of Interior, Abdol Reza Rahmani Fazli and the speaker of Majles Ali Larijani admitted that the security forces even used machine guns to rein the furious demonstrators.

Extensive video footage verified and analyzed by Amnesty International's Digital Verification Corps show security forces randomly shooting at unarmed protesters.