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Rights Organization Says At Least 324 Protesters Were Killed In Iran

Nikta Esfandi, one of the adolescents killed in Iran's November protests.
Nikta Esfandi, one of the adolescents killed in Iran's November protests.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Friday, December 20, that at least 324 people were killed in the November protests according to "credible sources."

Meanwhile, the Norway-based organization has insisted, "Since authorities have imposed a dreadful pressure on the victims’ family members to keep quiet, the actual number of those killed during the protests might be even higher. IHR will continue its research on the matter."

Furthermore, according to IHR's latest report, at least fourteen of the victims were under eighteen.

Most of the victims were killed by the security forces' direct shots, IHR says, adding, "Some people were killed while watching the protesters from their balconies or at the top of the roofs. School children were also killed on their way back home from school."

Moreover, at least 10,000 people have been arrested, and more than a thousand are wounded, the report maintains.

IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said: "Lack of a proper reaction by the international community will pave the way for the Iranian authorities to commit even bigger crimes in the near future. Those who issued the orders and those who executed the orders, from the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) to the security forces in the field who shot at the protesters, must be held accountable."

More than a month after the deadliest protests in the Islamic Republic's four-decade history, the authorities still refuse to announce the number of the dead or detainees.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International's latest estimate shows that at least 304 people fell victim to the security forces' heavy-handed response to the protests that initially broke out against an overnight three-fold increase in gasoline prices on November 15. Soon, the rallies turned into widespread protests against the political system of the Islamic Republic.

Opposition groups have put the number around 400 killed and the United States has said up to 1,000 protesters might have lost their lives.

The security forces, backed by the anti-riot Special Units, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and armed plainclothesmen, took four days to suppress the uprising brutally. In some areas, such as the city of Mahshahr in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, they even brought in tanks and heavy machine guns to repress the people.

Describing the suppression of the mid-November as "unprecedented," IHR has urged the international community to take urgent action to respond to the human rights crisis in Iran.

In the meantime, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Khamenei, has insisted that the protesters were actually "thugs", a term that several authorities in the clergy-dominated country echoed.

President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet, that are labeled as moderates have also supported the heavy-handed suppression. Meanwhile, in contradictory comments, they have admitted that all of the victims had not been "rioters" or "troublemakers."