- The state security council of Iran’s Interior Ministry provides its first death toll linked to months-long anti-government protests.
Tehran, Iran – A security body in Iran has provided its first official assessment of ongoing unrest across the country, saying more than 200 people have been killed since September.
In a statement released Saturday, the Iranian Interior Ministry’s state Security Council provided the first death toll it said came as a result of “unrest.”
He said the dead included security forces, those killed in “terrorist acts,” those killed by foreign-affiliated groups and framed as killed by the state, “rioters” and “anti-revolutionary armed elements who were members of secessionist groups.”
The announcement comes days after Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a senior general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said more than 300 people have been “martyred and killed” during the unrest.
The figures are lower than those provided by several foreign-based rights organizations, which put the death toll at more than 400.
Protests erupted across Iran shortly after the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the country’s “moral police” in Tehran for allegedly violating a mandatory dress code.
Saturday’s security body statement also emphasized the role of foreign intervention in the protests, saying the country has been grappling with a “hybrid war” waged by adversary states and “terrorist” media groups.
“What is being witnessed today by the people is not civil protest, but destruction, violence, and insecurity by a minority of rioters,” he said.
The United Nations has called on Iranian authorities to refrain from using “disproportionate force” in response to the protests and has called for the release of several political prisoners while opposing protest-related death sentences.
Last month, the UN Human Rights Council voted to launch a fact-finding mission to investigate the protests. Tehran condemned it as a “political” effort with which it said it will not cooperate.
Source: AL JAZEERA
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