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Iran Authorities Told Parliament 170 Protesters Killed In November Protests

Iran -- 2019 Iranian protests
Iran -- 2019 Iranian protests

An Iranian reformist lawmaker on January 2 said security officials told the Parliament only 170 protesters had been killed in the November protests. He demanded that they announce this figure publicly if that is their official account of the death toll.

Speaking at his party's 18th Congress on Thursday, the Secretary-General of Mardomsalari (Democracy) Party Mostafa Kavakebian criticized the delay in the announcement of the death toll and said authorities have told the members of the Parliament's National Security Committee 170 protesters were killed.

"The Judiciary says the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) is the authority to announce the death toll of the November protests. Why don't they? In the National Security Committee, they told us the number was 170," Kavakebian said and added: "Even 17 is too many".

The figure given to the lawmakers by security officials is much lower than the toll of 304 confirmed deaths by Amnesty International while according to Iran Human Rights at least 324 were killed in the unrest.

The reformist opposition Kalemeh website that had earlier set the death toll at 366 increased the figure to 631 on January 2 "on the basis of classified bulletins" of the security forces of the regime.

However, the highest death toll was reported by Reuters. Last month in a special report the news agency said three different unnamed sources close to the Supreme Leader's Office that Khamenei himself had issued the order to "do whatever it takes to stop the protesters." According to Reuters' sources about 1,500 were killed during less than a week of unrest that started on November 15.

Nearly two months after the protests more bodies of the victims are still being discovered. On January 1, the body of Hashem Moradi who had disappeared during the unrest was found in a river in Kermanshah Province. Witnesses said the body showed signs of torture. Several other bodies have been found in rivers and dams in western Iranian provinces of Kermanshah, Kordestan and Khuzestan.

Officials such as Mousa Ghazanfar-Abadi, head of Tehran's Revolutionary Court, have refuted the Reuters' death toll but so far no official death, injury or arrest figures have been offered despite many calls from the international community including the European Union’s newly appointed Foreign Policy Chief and Iranian activists.

Josep Borrell Fontelles on December 18 urged the Iranian authorities to "ensure transparent and credible investigations to clarify the number of deaths and arrests, and we expect all perpetrators of violence to be held accountable".

In December the Center for Human Rights in Iran ​ (CHRI) had said that the EU should lead calls for the UN to investigate Iranian state forces’ use of lethal means to repress the country’s mid-November 2019 protests.