by WorldTribune Staff, December 2, 2019
As many as 450 people were killed by Iranian security forces, at least 2,000 were wounded, and another 7,000 were detained in the crackdown on recent anti-government protests, reports say.
According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members surrounded, shot and killed 40 to 100 protesters, mostly unarmed young men, who had sought refuge in a marsh in the southwest city of Mahshahr.
“The recent use of lethal force against people throughout the country is unprecedented, even for the Islamic Republic and its record of violence,” said Omid Memarian, the deputy director at the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based group.
Last week, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, without acknowledging the killings, claimed his country had foiled a “very dangerous” plot. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested about 100 leaders of the protests and said they would act to severely punish them.
The New York Times on Sunday published a report saying between 180 and 450 people were killed in the protests which were sparked by Iran raising the price of gasoline.
It has been difficult to obtain official numbers of those killed by Iranian security forces in large part due because the Iranian regime blocked access to the internet during the protests.
The New York Times report, which was based on witness accounts and videos, says security forces responded to the protests by opening fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men between the ages of 19 and 26.
Iran blamed the unrest on “thugs” backed by its foreign enemies, including the United States, Israel and the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, an exiled armed opposition group it considers a “terrorist” cult.
Iranian Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri warned regional countries of “dire consequences” if it is proven that they meddled to stoke unrest in Iran.