Iran investigating cause of unrest-related deaths: general

December 1, 2019

TEHRAN – Commander of the Tehran division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Reza Yazdi, says investigations are underway to clarify the cause of death of those who lost their lives during the recent unrest across Iran.

“In the same way that people diverge from rioters, those who innocently lost their lives also diverge from those who wanted to damage public property,” Yazdi said on Sunday, ISNA reported.

He said some security forces were shot as well.

General Yazdi acknowledged that the people are entitled to demand better living conditions, and said wanting better living conditions is a legitimate demand.

But, he continued, there were some elements among protesters who attended the protests just to foment chaos and disrupt security.

He explained that protests started peacefully but rioters harnessed the power of the protests to their benefit and began damaging and setting fire to public property.

Protests erupted in Iran on November 15 after the government announced an increase in the price of gasoline, a subsidized commodity that is still cheaper in Iran than other countries in the world.

The proceeds from the price increase are paid in the form of cash subsidies to 60 million Iranians, who account for about 75 percent of the population.

The rationed gasoline, which is 60 liters per month, is priced 1500 tomans (35 cents) and any amount beyond that is 3000 tomans (70 cents).

The calculation is based on the official rate of 4200 tomans per dollar. However, the value of the dollar, due to the U.S. president’s strategy of “maximum pressure” against Iran, is almost 2.5 times higher in the free market.

Rioters damaged public and private property and put banks, gas stations, and state buildings on fire.

To control the situation, Iran blocked access to the internet for days. However, most of the country’s internet access has been restored.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on Tuesday that 731 banks and 70 gas stations were set ablaze or damaged during the unrest in the country.

“The rioters torched 731 banks to create problems,” Rahmani Fazli said. “Also, they damaged and/or torched 140 public places, 70 gas stations, and 9 religious centers and burned 307 automobiles and 1076 motorcycles.”

Jamal Orf, a deputy of the interior minister, said on Saturday that international statistics about the death toll of the recent unrest are not valid.

Orf said respected bodies will announce the death toll based on forensic statistics.

The international statistics are higher than the real number of deaths, he added.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has updated the number of confirmed deaths, putting the number at 161 on November 29.

MH/PA

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