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Iran recognizes for the first time the death of protesters at the hands of security forces in protests

December 3, 2019

DUBAI, Dec. 3 (Reuters / EP) –

The Iranian authorities have confirmed for the first time that security forces shot at protesters during the latest protests in the country against rising fuel prices.

The state television network said during the day that “the rioters were armed with knives and weapons” and that “they kept kidnapped people by closing all roads in some areas.”

“The security forces had no choice but to deal with them firmly … and there were troublemakers killed in the clashes,” he added, without providing a balance of deaths.

According to this information, the security forces faced “rioters armed with semi-heavy weapons” in Mahshar, in the province of Juzestán (southeast), where one of the largest balance of victims occurred.

In addition, the state television network has confirmed that among the fatalities there are civilians who were in the area and members of the security forces, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

Hours earlier, the spokesman for the Judicial Branch of Iran, Gholam Hosein Ismaili, had assured that the latest demonstrations resulted in “many fewer deaths” than the 208 deceased denounced by the non-governmental organization Amnesty International.

According to estimates not confirmed by the authorities, the protests would have resulted in more than 1,000 people detained, including 180 alleged leaders, some of whom could face the death penalty.

The Government of Iran temporarily blocked the Internet during the protests to prevent the dissemination of images of the demonstrations and, since then, the restrictions have gradually been lifted. The spokesman for the Iranian judiciary has rejected the death balance published by the media and said that “many of the alleged victims are still alive.”

“Many people were shot by armed protesters and not by security forces,” he argued. Ismaili has said that there are “300 people arrested in Tehran” although he has refused to take stock of fatalities in protests against the authorities of the Islamic Republic.

Amnesty International said Monday that the balance of mobilizations could be even greater than those 208 fatalities. Families of victims have received threats and have been warned not to talk to the media or celebrate funerals.

In some cases, according to the NGO version, the bodies have been handed over to family members after they were extorted to pay for the bodies.

Tehran has also accused international powers, including the United States, of being behind the protests, which it has taken as ditches after the arrest of more than a thousand people, including nearly one hundred that it has described as “leaders” of them .

Frustration has been on the rise in Iran over the continuing devaluation of the currency and the rise in commodity prices such as bread, rice and other food since the United States decided to reactivate the sanctions against Tehran after abandoning the nuclear pact in 2018 .