Iran Admits to Murdering Protesters in Cities Across Country

At least 208 people are believed to have been killed during a crackdown on protests in Iran last month that followed a sharp fuel price hike Amnesty International said on Monday. — WANA via Reuters  File

At least 208 people are believed to have been killed during a crackdown on protests in Iran last month that followed a sharp fuel price hike Amnesty International said on Monday. — WANA via Reuters File

At least 208 people in Iran have been killed amid protests over sharply rising gasoline prices and a subsequent crackdown by security forces, Amnesty International said Monday, as one government official acknowledged telling police to shoot demonstrators.

Iran's state-run media say 140 public facilities have been torched or damaged. Those "killed in shootouts with security forces" also should have their backgrounds examined, he said.

However, online videos of demonstrations purport to show security forces firing machine guns and rifles at crowds.

Amnesty International said the death toll is a "further evidence that Iran's security forces went on a horrific killing spree".

Some Iranian Lawmakers have called on the authorities to give an official record of the arrests and death toll of the protests.

It has been at risk of falling apart since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in May a year ago and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Washington has ruled out lifting sanctions unless Iran further curbs its nuclear work, ends its ballistic missile programme and its regional proxy wars.

The demonstrations followed months of attacks across the Middle East that the US blames on Tehran. That decision has seen Iran begin to break limits of the deal, as well as a series of attacks across the Mideast that America has blamed on Tehran.

A correspondent said "rioters" had attacked sensitive or military sites with guns or knives, and taken people hostage, leaving security forces with no choice to "resort to authoritative and tough confrontation" to save lives.

The oil-rich province's Arab population has long complained of discrimination by Iran's central government and insurgent groups have targeted oil pipelines there in the past.

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There are no statistics from the regime about the latest demonstrations but Amnesty International estimates more than 200 people have been killed by the government in a very short period of time.

Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, a member of parliament's national security committee, said last week that about 7,000 people were arrested during the unrest.

It said: "For hours, armed rioters had waged an armed struggle".

Iran has proposed President Hassan Rouhani visit Japan, a USA ally which also has close relations with Tehran, to try to resolve Iran's nuclear impasse with Washington, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

It also acknowledged killings in Tehran and in its suburb Shahriar, where Amnesty said it had recently learned of "dozens" of deaths. It described the suburb as likely one of the areas with the highest death tolls in the unrest.

Amnesty offered no breakdown for the deaths elsewhere in the country, though it said "the real figure is likely to be higher".

"Not just small numbers which are bad, big numbers which are really bad, and really big numbers ..."

Authorities have yet to issue overall figures for the number of people killed in the violence.

He also said the "majority of the detainees" from the protests had been released, without offering any numbers.

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