The supreme leader of Iran ordered the authorities to put an end to the mobilizations by doing what was “necessary”
GENEVA, Dec. 23 (Reuters / EP) –
Protests against Iran's regime in November resulted in the deaths of some 1,500 people, mostly protesters, according to a balance confirmed to Reuters by three Iranian government officials.
The three government officials have told Reuters that the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Jamenei, ordered that whatever was necessary be done to end the mobilizations against the regime, which began with the rise in fuel prices. “Do whatever it takes,” said the supreme leader, according to the story of those three leaders of the Tehran Executive.
Jamenei's order gave way to a campaign of repression that has left 1,500 dead, the balance with more fatalities since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought the Ayatollahs to power and ended the regime of Sha Reza Pahlevi.
The balance of demonstrations against the Iranian government that began on November 15 amounts to some 1,500 dead, including 17 teenagers and 400 women, as well as several members of the security forces and the Police.
Officially, the Iranian authorities have not given any death toll but the human rights organization Amnesty International published on December 16 a report that put at least 304 dead the balance sheet for the repression of protests.
For its part, the State Department has indicated, in a statement sent to Reuters, that the protests resulted in several hundred deaths. According to two of the Iranian officials consulted, the balance sheet provided to Reuters is based on information from security forces, morgues, hospitals and forensic institutes.
An Iranian government spokesman has refused to make statements when asked about whether the supreme leader directly ordered the protests to end. The protests began in mid-November over the Iranian regime's decision to increase the price of fuels and became the biggest challenge to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 Revolution.
On the second day, the mobilizations reached the capital of the country, Tehran, with protesters demanding the end of the Ayatollah regime and the fall of their leaders. The protesters burned images of Ayatollah Khamenei and demanded the return of Reza Pahlevi, the son of the overthrown and exiled Shah from Iran, according to the videos spread on social networks and according to the testimony of witnesses to the protests.
On that second day of demonstrations, the supreme leader of Iran met at his official residence in central Tehran with senior government positions, including the country's president, Hasan Rohani, and several members of his Government. Three sources close to the supreme leader have told Reuters that at that meeting the ayatollah raised the tone and criticized the management of the Executive before the demonstrations and was especially angry at the burning of his images and the destruction of a statue of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruholá Khomeini.
“The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes. That is my order,” said the Iranian supreme leader, according to one of the sources consulted by Reuters. Ayatollah Khamenei said that if the demonstrations did not stop, he would hold the senior officials in attendance at the meeting. “The enemies wanted to overthrow the Islamic Republic and an immediate reaction was needed,” said another of those responsible for the Tehran Government.
A fourth head of the Government, who was informed about that meeting, said that Jamenei made it clear that the protests had to have a strong response from the Executive. “Our imam only responds to God. He takes care of the people and the Revolution. He was very firm and said that the troublemakers had to be repressed,” he explained.
On December 3, the Iranian state television network reported that security forces were firing live ammunition at protesters and that “some troublemakers” had died in clashes with security forces.
The US Department of State has said it has received videos in which members of the Revolutionary Guard are seen opening fire without warning against protesters protesting against the regime in the town of Mahshahr. In the images, the protesters flee and the guards chase them and surround them with vehicles armed with machine guns, killing at least 100 Iranians, according to the State Department version.