Rights Group: Death Toll from Crackdown on Iran Protests Surpasses 200
According to Amnesty International, the death toll from a three-week-long government crackdown on nationwide protests in Iran has surpassed 200. The demonstrations, which broke out November 15 after Tehran hiked gasoline prices, quickly spread to over 100 cities. Amnesty’s lead Middle East researcher suggested that the bloodshed was “evidence that Iran’s security forces went on a horrific killing spree” and called for the regime to be held accountable. Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces massacred scores of civilians in the city of Mahshahr, reinforcing the perception that the mullahs have been willing to use any and every violent countermeasure to quell what many have described as the worst civil unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Amnesty last week charged that Tehran was going so far as to demand that families pay for the bullets used to kill the victims. The Iranian regime is also facing fierce backlashes against its interventionism in Iraq and Lebanon, where demonstrations have forced the resignation of both countries’ prime ministers. Iran’s internal upheaval comes at a time when the noose in the form of US economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic is beginning to tighten around the mullahs’ necks. In response, Tehran has significantly expanded its nuclear activities in contravention of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a move that appears to have induced six European nations to partner in an effort led by France, Britain and Germany – which are parties to the nuclear accord – to begin implementing a barter system known as INSTEX that would permit trade with the Iran.