Iran regime killed 106 to quell protest; UN alarmed

Iranian protesters gather around a fire during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices in the capital Tehran, on November 16, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 November 2019

Iran regime killed 106 to quell protest; UN alarmed

  • UN says alarmed by reports of 'significant' death toll in Iran protests
  • The assailants wielding knives and machetes ambushed the three — a Revolutionary Guard and two members of the Basij militia

JEDDAH: Amnesty International, citing “credible reports,” said on Tuesday it believes at least 106 people have been killed during protests in Iran over a rise in government-set gasoline prices.

Iran’s government, which has not made nationwide numbers available for the toll of the unrest that began on Sunday, did not immediately respond to the report.

Amnesty added that it “believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.”

Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said the international community must push for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in order to address the brutal suppression of civilians.

“The agenda for such a Security Council meeting would also represent an opportunity to showcase a policy, which should include, at a minimum, serious, multinational efforts to deny the Iranian regime the tools to halt the flow of information within the country, or out of it,” he told Arab News. “International powers must also issue statements of support for the Iranian people.”

Iran since has shut down the internet and deployed police and anti-riot forces to quell the unrest. Demonstrations are believed to still be going on in the country.

Hard-liners in Iran meanwhile threatened violent protesters with executions by hanging as sporadic demonstrations still gripped pockets of the country. 

It remains unclear how many people have been arrested, injured or killed in the protests that began Friday and quickly spread across at least 100 cities and towns in Iran.  

Maryam Kazemi, a 29-year-old accountant in the southern Tehran suburb of Khaniabad, said that the hefty hike in fuel prices was “putting pressure on ordinary people.”

“It was a bad decision at a bad time. The economic situation has long been difficult for people and Rouhani unexpectedly implemented the decision on fuel,” she said.

The UN rights office said it was alarmed by reports live ammunition was used against protesters and had caused a “significant number of deaths across the country.”

Its spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva that Iranian media and a number of other sources suggest “dozens of people may have been killed and many people injured during protests in at least eight different provinces, with over 1,000 protesters arrested.”

He said: ”We urge the Iranian authorities and security forces to avoid the use of force to disperse peaceful assemblies.”

Journalists saw two petrol stations in Tehran gutted by fire and damage to infrastructure, including a police station. They were prevented from filming as hundreds of riot police guarded squares with armored vehicles and water cannons.

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Turkish strikes kill three Kurds in Iraq

Updated 38 min 28 sec ago

Turkish strikes kill three Kurds in Iraq

  • Turkey launched a cross-border operation in mid-June against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels in northern Iraq
  • The men were killed when they stopped outside a grocery store
ERBIL, Iraq: Turkish bombardment killed three Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, a local official said Friday, as Baghdad seeks to rally support to end Ankara’s offensive on its soil.
Turkey launched a cross-border ground and air operation in mid-June against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels in the mountainous terrain of northern Iraq.
“A Turkish bombardment targeted a car in the village of Rashanki, in Dohuk province, killing three PKK fighters, and injuring a fourth who fled,” said Mushir Bashir, the local mayor, of the bombardment late Thursday.
The men, who were traveling in an off-road vehicle, were killed when they stopped outside a grocery store, he added.
The attack comes as Iraq tries to drum up support from its Arab neighbors to form a united front against Ankara’s offensive.
Turkey defends its right to bomb the PKK, which it considers to be a “terrorist” organization, and accuses Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan of not stopping the group.
Earlier this week, two senior Iraqi officers and their driver were killed in a Turkish drone strike, prompting Iraq to summon the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad for the third time in two months.
On Friday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein contacted his Bahraini and Emirati counterparts, after calling the day before the Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi and Kuwaiti foreign ministers, as well as Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
Hussein pleaded for “a united position, forcing Turkey to withdraw its forces that have infiltrated Iraqi territory.”
Achieving that is a major challenge, analysts say.
Turkey, a major trading partner of Iraq and a regional heavyweight, has had several military posts in Iraqi Kurdistan for the past 25 years.
Now it is expanding its bases, Kurdish sources say.
The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984. It has long used the rugged terrain of northern Iraq as a rear base to wage attacks on Turkey, which in turn had set up military positions inside Iraqi territory to fight them.
Since Turkey launched its offensive in mid-June, at least five civilians have been killed.
Ankara says at least seven of its men have been killed, and the PKK and its allies have lost 14 fighters.