The head of Iran’s Armed Forces Judicial Organization has referred to civilian casualties in recent protests and said, “it is possible some were hurt accidentally, as this is a natural occurrence in urban warfare”.
While Shokrollah Bahrami has tried to downplay the use of lethal force by security forces against civilians, he has referred to “urban warfare”, which is an armed conflict between two enemies; not protests by citizens.
According to conservative estimates, between 115-140 civilians were killed in widespread protests that shook Iran in recent days. Hundreds more were injured and around 4,000 have been arrested.
Bahrami has also said that protesters did a lot of damage, mentioning that in one area of Shiraz city “not even one bank remains standing”.
While protesters, angry with a sudden rise of gasoline prices and frustrated with a lack of freedom of expression and assembly, inflicted damage on some public property, many insist that government instigated destruction, to blame protesters, was also widespread.
Concerning the government-imposed internet blackout, the mid-ranking clergyman said authorities tried not to disconnect the Internet but eventually realized they could not contain the protests. “Now our enemies are mourning over the Internet blackout” and their inability to make the situation worse, Bahrami said.
All senior Iranian officials have been insisting that the protests were instigated by Iran’s adversaries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, France and Israel.