Wednesday, June 19, 2024

60 Children Among 448 Killed in Iran in Crackdown Against Anti-Hijab Protests: Report

At least 448 people have been killed by the Iranian Security Forces in the crackdown on protests held across the country over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

The protests began this year September and witnessed clashes and killings of protestors in large numbers, a human rights group said.

Of the 448 people confirmed to have been killed, 60 were children aged under 18, including nine girls and 29 women, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group said.

According to the report, 16 people were killed in the past week alone, of whom 12 were slain in Kurdish-populated areas where protests have intensified.

The number comes as Iranian government admitted for the first time that more than 300 people have died in the protests.

“Everyone in the country has been affected by the death of this lady,” said Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a video published by the Mehr news agency.

“I don’t have the latest figures, but I think we have had perhaps more than 300 martyrs and people killed,” among them some of “the best sons of the country”, said Hajizadeh, head of the Guards’ aerospace division.

The UN Rights Council last week voted to establish a high-level fact-finding mission to probe the crackdown in a move angrily rejected by Iran.

“Islamic republic authorities know full well that if they cooperate with the UN fact-finding mission, an even wider scale of their crimes will be revealed,” said IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

“That’s why their non-cooperation is predictable,” he added.

The protests erupted after the September 16 death of Kurdish Iranian Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the Tehran morality police and have become the biggest challenge to the regime since the 1979 revolution.

Amiry-Moghaddam said more than half the deaths were recorded in regions populated by the Sunni Baluch or Kurdish ethnic minorities.

The most deaths were in the southeastern region Sistan-Baluchistan where 128 people were killed after protests which had a separate spark but have fed into the nationwide anger, IHR said.

Moreover, thousands of Iranians and around 40 foreigners have been arrested and more than 2,000 people have been charged for protests, according to judicial authorities.

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