More police forces injured in riots than civilians: government

December 9, 2019 - 19:35

TEHRAN – The number of police forces who were injured during the recent unrest is higher than that of the civilians, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday.

“We cannot announce inflated statistics as America does,” Rabiei told a regular press briefing in Tehran, ISNA reported.

He was referring to a claim by U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook, who said more than a thousand people may have been killed during the protests.

“As the truth is trickling out of Iran, it appears the regime could have murdered over a thousand Iranian citizens since the protests began,” Hook told reporters at a briefing at the State Department on Thursday.

Rabiei, however, said the true death toll caused by the riots will be announced soon.

“There is no evidence for what they claim,” he said. “We will announce the death toll honestly and by province and by cause.”

The spokesman also said the only reason the government has not announced the death toll is a request to hold off by the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) – a body responsible to safeguard the country’s security.

“The government, via coordination with the Judiciary and the Interior Ministry, will announce the death toll soon,” Rabiei said.

The remarks came a few weeks after protests erupted in some cities in Iran against increasing gasoline price. In certain cases, the protests turned violent as some rioters clashed with police, using knives and guns.

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

The protests lasted just for a few days.

Based on “credible reports”, Amnesty International claimed recently that at least 208 people were killed during the unrest. The number has been widely used by news media outlets despite the fact that Iran has repeatedly rejected any international estimate as “invalid”. 

Soon after the protests erupted, Ayatollah Khamenei supported the government’s decision, putting an end to doubts and possible moves to reverse the decision.

The Leader said he had previously announced that since he was not an expert on the issue, he would support any decision made by heads of the three branches of government and the experts.

Last week the Leader urged relevant state bodies to practice Islamic mercy when dealing with those who committed acts of violence or caused insecurity in the protests.

He said those who were killed without being involved in provoking riots should be considered martyrs and their families should receive stipends. 

Ayatollah Khamenei also called for Islamic mercy in dealing with those suspects involved in sabotage acts.

MH/PA

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