Iran 'could have murdered over 1000 protesters, injured 7000', says US envoy

Iran 'could have murdered over 1000 protesters, injured 7000', says US envoy
The United States' top Iran envoy says that as many as 1,000 people may have been killed by Iranian authorities during recent protests.
2 min read
05 December, 2019
Crushing US sanctions have greatly increased discontent in Iran [Getty]
The United States's top Iran envoy said on Thursday that Tehran "could have murdered over 1,000" people since the beginning of protests in the country, while thousands more have been injured and arrested.

"We cannot be certain, because the regime blocks information," said Washington's special representative on Iran Brian Hook, who added "many thousands of Iranians have been wounded, and at least 7,000 protesters have been detained."

Tehran has until now rejected international reports of the killing of protesters, blaming the unrest on "thugs" backed by Iran's foreign enemies.

A near-total internet blackout during the height of the protests and government silence has prevented the gathering of accurate statistics on how many demonstrators have been killed and wounded.

Amnesty International said on Monday it believes at least 208 protesters were killed in the brutal crackdown on protests.

Iran's mission to the United Nations disputed the human rights organisation's findings early on Tuesday, thought it offered no evidence to support its claim.

Tehran has yet to release any nationwide statistics over the unrest that gripped the Islamic Republic with minimum prices for government-subsidized gasoline rising by 50 percent.

Iran shut down internet access amid the unrest, blocking those inside the country from sharing their videos and information, as well as limiting the outside world from knowing the scale of the protests and violence. The restoration of the internet in recent days across much of the country has seen other videos surface.

While not drawing as many Iranians into the streets as those protesting the disputed 2009 presidential election, the gasoline price demonstrations rapidly turned violent faster than any previous rallies.

Analysts say the violence shows the widespread economic discontent gripping the country since May last year, when US President Donald Trump imposed crushing sanctions after unilaterally withdrawing from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

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