Six of the juveniles reportedly killed by security forces in Iran’s mass protests in November 2019

Amnesty International has raised its confirmed death toll amid last month’s Iran protests to 304.

The organization issued an update Monday in which it cited “harrowing testimony” that authorities “massacred” protesters amid a “vicious clampdown” with thousands of arrests “to stop [demonstrators] from speaking out about Iran’s ruthless repression”.

The report is based on “interviews with dozens of people inside Iran” and verified video.

The mass marches were sparked by the Government’s midnight announcement on November 15 of a rise of 50% to 200% in petrol prices. Initial protests were peaceful, but Iranian authorities maintain that the demonstrations turned to foreign-instigated violence which burnt hundreds of banks — a target of anger because of corruption and people’s loss of savings — and Government buildings.

The killings occurred over four days, with Amnesty saying many of the protesters were shot at close range, some in the back as they were fleeing.

Iranian authorities have not issued an official death toll, and have referred to only five fatalities, claiming four security personnel were slain by “rioters”.

The pro-opposition site Kalameh said at least 366 people were killed by security forces, including victims as young as 13. Detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and political prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh, a leading human rights lawyer, are among those calling for investigation and prosecution of those responsible.

The regime reportedly detained more than 8,000 people to quell the protests, and “independent sources” told Amnesty that “security forces are still carrying out raids across the country to arrest people in their homes and places of work”. Journalists, students, human rights defenders, and members of ethnic minority groups have been targeted.

Juveniles as young as 15 have been imprisoned alongside adults, with dozens of people held in “incommunicado detention” and others in “conditions amounting to enforced disappearance” amid “severe overcrowding”.

The detentions have been so extensive that a few MPs have dared speak out in Parliament against the arrests.

See also Iran Daily, Dec 11: Dissident MPs Challenge Regime’s “Grim Despotism” After Killing of Protesters