Nearly 200 to 225 people killed in November protests, minister suggests

May 31, 2020 - 18:51

TEHRAN — Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli has suggested that nearly 200 to 225 people were killed during the widespread protests in November 2019.

In remarks on national television on Saturday night, Rahmani-Fazli said the death toll will be announced in the coming days, but explained that “some 40 or 45 people, meaning about 20 percent of the death toll, were people who were killed by non-governmental weapons.”

They were named martyrs, he said.

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.

During the protests, public and private properties were damaged and banks, gas stations, and state buildings were put on fire.

To control the situation, Iran blocked access to the internet for days.

In a report in December, Reuters claimed that about 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest across Iran.

“The toll, provided to Reuters by three Iranian Interior Ministry officials, included at least 17 teenagers and about 400 women as well as some members of the security forces and police,” the London-based news outlet claimed.

An official at Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) denied Reuters’ claim at the time.

Alireza Zarifian Yeganeh, head of the SNSC Information and Communications Secretariat, said such claims were part of the anti-Iran disinformation campaign.

“Such news producing and leveling accusations is basically very easy,” he said, describing the act as a psychological operation against the Islamic Republic.

“When asked to offer sources or documents, the media outlet would refer you to invisible creatures,” he added.

Elsewhere in his Sunday night remarks, Rahmani-Fazli said during the November protests, there were no armed confrontation with people, and police forces were advised to observe tolerance.

“However, when they (rioters) attack a police station, they should be confronted, because if the law enforcement does not defend, people become the victim,” he stated.

“The country’s security is valuable to us, and it must be protected within the framework of law,” the interior minister added.

MH/PA

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