Iran used firearms to subdue protests; Pompeo tells Iranians, ‘We hear you’

by WorldTribune Staff, November 27, 2019

Video footage which made it past Iran’s Internet blockade during recent anti-government demonstrations shows Iranian security forces using firearms against civilian protesters, rights groups reported. Reports say at least 143 were killed, but news reports from Iran are sketchy and unreliable.

“Verified videos show security forces deliberately shooting unarmed protesters from a short distance. In some cases, protesters were shot while they were running away and clearly posed no threat to the security forces. Other videos show security forces shooting towards protesters from rooftops of state buildings including a justice department building,” Amnesty International reported.

Protesters in the northern Iranian city of Sari attend a demonstration on Nov. 16 after authorities raised gasoline prices. / ISNA

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov. 26 delivered a message to the Iranian people: “The United States hears you. We have received to date nearly 20,000 messages, videos, pictures, notes of the regime’s abuses. We will continue to sanction Iranian officials who are responsible for these human rights abuses, just like we did last week to Iran’s minister of communications.”

In a report titled “Iran: Deliberate Coverup of Brutal Crackdown”, Human Rights Watch said video posted on social media “clearly shows security forces using firearms targeting protesters,” adding that many social-media reports indicate that relatives and family members have not been allowed “to get the bodies of their loved ones and have been restricted in their ability to perform burial services.”

Human Rights Watch cautioned the Iranian government that international human rights legislation to which Iran is a party provides for the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and reminds Teheran that “deliberate use of lethal force is permissible only when it is strictly necessary to protect life.”

The Iranian regime has yet to publish any definitive official death toll for the unrest sparked by Iran’s major increase in gas prices.

Amnesty International reported on Monday that at least 143 protesters have been killed by the Iranian government since the protests first broke out on Nov. 15.

“The deaths have resulted almost entirely from the use of firearms. One man was reported to have died after inhaling tear gas, another after being beaten,” Amnesty International said.

Human Rights Watch called on the Iranian government to “immediately announce the number of deaths, arrests, and detentions from the recent protests and permit an independent inquiry into alleged abuses.”

Iranian lawmaker Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, who sits on the parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying authorities arrested more than 7,000 people.

The Human Rights Watch report also notes that Iranian authorities in mid-November shut down the Internet in an attempt to prevent protesters’ communication with the outside world, and access has yet to be fully restored.

Iran’s leader have referred to the protesters as “thugs” who were encouraged by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Pompeo said that “The Iranian people are once again on the streets because of the regime’s poor economic management. Instead of addressing their grievances, Teheran has responded with violence and blaming those outside of the country.”

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