This estimate is significantly lower than that of Human Rights Activists Iran, a U.S-based group that has closely followed the protests since the September 16th death of a young Iranian woman held by the country’s morality police. According to the activist group, 451 protesters have been killed and 60 security officers have been injured since the beginning of unrest. More than 18,000 people have been held.
Mahsa Amini (22 years old) was arrested for violating Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. This led to the sparked of protests. These protests quickly escalated into calls to overthrow Iran’s theocracy. They pose one of most serious challenges for the ruling clerics ever since the 1979 revolution brought them to power. A website close to the Guard quoted Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying that more 300 people had been killed, with “martyrs” being a reference to security forces.
He suggested that many of the people killed were not protesters but ordinary Iranians. He didn’t give an exact number or whereabouts. The authorities have severely restricted media coverage of protests. The media linked to the state have not reported an overall death toll, and instead have focused on attacks against security forces. Officials blame shadowy militant or separatist groups.
Hajizadeh repeated the claim that protests were sparked by Iran’s enemies, including Western countries, but did not provide any evidence.
Protesters claim they are fed up following decades of political and social repression and have received support from athletes, artists, and other public figures.
Unrest has also cast a shadow on the World Cup with some Iranians actively supporting their national team as they believe it is linked to the government. Ayatollah Ali Khanei, the niece of Iran’s Supreme leader, has called for people to press their governments to end ties with Tehran in protest at its violent suppression.
Farideh Moradkhani, a France-based brother posted a video online urging “conscientious people around the world” support Iranian protesters. According to activist group, the video was posted online this week following Moradkhani’s reported arrest on Nov. 23.
Moradkhani, a long-standing activist whose father was an opponent figure married to Khamenei’s daughter, is the closest member to the supreme leader to be imprisoned. This branch has opposed Khamenei over the past decades, and Moradkhani was previously imprisoned for her activism. She said that she asked the world’s conscientious people to stand with her and to ask their governments to stop reacting with empty words and slogans, but to take real action to end any dealings with the regime.
The protests are now in their third month despite the brutal crackdown of Iranian security forces using rubber bullets, live ammunition and tear gas. Iran is refusing to cooperate with the fact-finding mission, which was established by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
According to the Austria Press Agency, a dual Iranian-Austrian citizen aged 76 was released from prison by Iran.
APA quoted the Austrian Foreign Ministry as confirming that Massud Mossaheb was granted indefinite medical leave. His release was announced by the ministry through “intensive diplomatic efforts”, which was first reported in Austrian newspaper Die Presse. Iran did not immediately comment.
Mossaheb, who was visiting Tehran as the capital of Iran, was later arrested for suspicion of spying and sentenced to 10 year imprisonment. According to APA, he must remain in Iran and report back to authorities every two weeks.
In recent years, Iran has held several dual nationals on suspicion of threatening national security. Rights groups and analysts accuse Iran’s security agency of using foreign detainees to bargain with the West in prisoner swaps or negotiations. Tehran refutes these accusations.