Iran admits for the first time that 300 people have been killed

Iran protests: Scenes of civil unrest against government

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Protests erupted in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested for not following the country’s strict hijab laws. Eyewitnesses say she was beaten in a police van, but the police denied the allegation.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said: “Everyone in the country has been affected by the death of this lady.”

He is a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and was quoted in Iran’s state-linked media confirming the protest death toll.

The General stated: “I don’t have the latest figures, but I think we have had perhaps more than 300 martyrs and people killed.”

The use of the word “martyrs” seem to be an apparent reference to security forces.

Iran has confirmed that 50 security personnel have been killed in the protests but has not released any other official figures.

Mr Hajizadeh estimated the death toll is still lower than the estimated number collected by the group Iran Human Rights, which has recorded that 416 protesters have been killed, including 51 children.

The group are calling on the international community to investigate the deaths as “crimes against humanity”.

They also said that in the last week alone, more than 72 people were “killed by repressive forces in Iran” and that 56 of those people were killed in Kurdish areas.

Iran Human Rights Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “In addition to the crime of using war bullets against protesters across the country, the Iranian authorities have also systematically and disproportionately killed defenceless people in the Baluch and Kurdish ethnic regions.

“This amounts to crimes against humanity which the international community has a duty to take action to prevent its continuation.”

The Iranian government has previously said they will show “no leniency” to protestors, and it is estimated that thousands of Iranians have been arrested in the protests.

Around 40 of these arrests have been foreigners and 2,000 people have been charged, according to Iranian authorities. 

The country’s parliament has recently passed a law allowing some protestors to be trialled as “mohareb” or “enemy of God”, which is punishable by death. 

Six people have been sentenced to death under the new law, with their appeals set to be heard by the Supreme Court of Iran.

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This week, Iran has also refused to cooperate with United Nations investigations after the Human Rights Council voted to look into the abuses in Iran’s handling of protestors.

Nasser Kanani, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said that Iran will have “no form of cooperation with this political committee which has been framed as a fact-finding committee.”

Last week, Iran announced it has formed its own investigation with representatives from the Iranian government, and they would look into “events, riots and unrest”.

Mr Kanani said this was a “reasonable” act by the Iranian government which meant there was no need of a UN investigation.

He added: “[The UN investigation was] taking advantage of human rights mechanisms to exert political pressure on independent countries.”

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