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Death Toll In Iran Protests Rises As U.S., Europe Condemn Use Of Force

A burnt-out building, apparently a bus station in Sanandaj, Western Iran. November 18, 2019

International condemnation of the Islamic regime's use of military force against peaceful demonstrators continue as based informed estimates Amnesty International said Tuesday 106 protesters have been killed.

The United States, the UN, Germany and France have condemned Tehran for its violence against those taking part in anti-government demonstrations that has left also thousands injured as a result of widespread use of live ammunition against protestors.

In the meantime, reports say protests continued overnight and on Tuesday morning government-backed vigilante groups reportedly torched banks and government offices giving the government a pretext to blame protestors for violence.

Fragmented reports reaching international media, despite government clampdown on information and the Internet, indicate that the most violent attacks on demonstrators have taken place in Southern Iran in Behbahan, Mahshahr, Bushehr, and Shiraz as well as the Kurdish towns of Javanroud and Marivan in the West, and southwestern suburbs of Tehran, particularly in Shahryar.

Several reports and individuals phoning in on foreign-based satellite radio and TV stations say IRGC and Basij militia have been shooting directly at the demonstrators aiming at their heads.

A video showing the protests at Shiraz University show IRGC gunmen opening fire at demonstrators with machine guns. Elsewhere, other videos show Basij militia's snipers shooting the protestors from government building rooftops.

The United States has denounced the use of force against protesters in Iran and the near total communications blackout imposed since Saturday.

Although the government tries to strictly control news about the protests, citizen and activist reports speak of tens of people killed. The government Sunday acknowledged the death of only three people.

The municipality building in Sabahshahr set ablaze. Citizen journalist report.

An article published Tuesday in the hard-line Kayhan newspaper suggested executions loomed for those who led violent protests. Though the state-owned newspaper has a small circulation, its managing editor Hossein Shariatmadari was personally appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Some reports say that the judiciary considers execution by hanging for the riot leaders a definite punishment,” Kahyan said, without elaborating.

A White House statement on November 17 expressed "support" for "the Iranian people in their peaceful protests."

Earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had voiced support for the Iranian people, tweeting that "The United States is with you".

Meanwhile, authorities in Iran, including Supreme Leader Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and several officials inked to the IRGC or Khamenei's household have warned of a harsh response to the massive protests that have spread to 100 towns and cities across the country.

In another development, UN Chief Antonio Guterres said on Monday that he is watching the protest in Iran with grave concern and said that he is saddened and upset about people being killed on the streets of Iran, a spokesman told the press.

A burnt-out bank building in Isfahan. November 17, 2019
A burnt-out bank building in Isfahan. November 17, 2019

In a more recent development, a spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the Islamic Republic to respect the people's right to protest and show interest in interaction with demonstrators. She also called on Tehran to respect the people's freedom of expression and assembly in Iran.

The French Foreign Ministry also issued a statement calling on Iranian authorities to respect the people's right to protest and their freedom of expression. Although Iranian protestors have been calling for international support for their peaceful demonstrations, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has dismissed statements by the U.S., France and Germany as intervention in Iran's internal affairs.

International human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in a November 18 statement "We're horrified at reports that the security forces have killed dozens of protesters in Iran, hundreds injured & over 1,000 arrested since Friday (November 14)," adding that "We're alarmed that authorities have shut down the internet to create an information blackout of their brutal crackdown. We're investigating."

"The authorities have shut down the internet to create an information blackout of their brutal crackdown," Amnesty International reiterated in a tweet.

Meanwhile, several citizen reports say IRGC and Basij militia and the "5000 thugs" they have officially said they have employed, have been torching banks and government offices in various places particularly in Pirouzi area in Tehran, and the suburb towns around Karaj West of Tehran.