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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I
Tipsheet

Iran Admits to Murdering Protesters in Cities Across Country

Iranian Presidency Office via AP

Iran admitted on state television Tuesday that its security forces murdered what it called "rioters" in cities across the country after mass demonstrations over a spike in government-set gasoline prices.

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“The acknowledgment came in a television package that criticized international Farsi-language channels for their reporting on the crisis, which began on Nov. 15,” the Associated Press reports. 

There are no statistics from the regime about the latest demonstrations but Amnesty International estimates more than 200 people have been killed by the government in a very short period of time. 

 

The New York Times reported over the weekend that the number could be higher.

Altogether, from 180 to 450 people, and possibly more, were killed in four days of intense violence after the gasoline price increase was announced on Nov. 15, with at least 2,000 wounded and 7,000 detained, according to international rights organizations, opposition groups and local journalists.

“It’s something pretty unprecedented event in the history of the human rights violations in the Islamic Republic,” Mansoureh Mills, an Iran researcher for Amnesty International, told AP. 

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. That shows the widespread economic discontent gripping the country since May 2018, when President Donald Trump imposed crushing sanctions after unilaterally withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

The state TV report sought to describe killings in four categories, alleging some of those killed were “rioters who have attacked sensitive or military centers with firearms or knives, or have taken hostages in some areas.” The report described others killed as passers-by, security forces and peaceful protesters, without assigning blame for their deaths.

In one case, the report said security forces confronted a separatist group in the city of Mahshahr armed with “semi-heavy weapons.”

“For hours, armed rioters had waged an armed struggle,” the report alleged. “In such circumstances, security forces took action to save the lives of Mahshahr’s people.” (AP)

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During the height of protests Iran shut down internet access so Iranians would not be able to share details with the outside world. In recent days, however, access has been restored and glimpses of the government’s brutality have surfaced. 

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