WASHINGTON – The United States government held Iran on Thursday responsible for the death of more than 1,000 people in the recent protests that shook the country.
“It appears the regime could have murdered over 1,000 Iranian citizens since the protests began,” said State Department Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook.
Hook, however, said he was not be certain of that figure because “the regime blocks information.”
According to the US official, in one single protest in the southwestern city of Mahshahr, more than a hundred people died and when it was over, the bodies were loaded in trucks.
“We do not yet know where these bodies were taken, but we are learning more and more about how the Iranian regime treats its own people,” he added.
According to Washington, the number of deaths that occurred during the protests may have been five times the number estimated by Amnesty International, which in its latest report said 208 people lost their lives adding that the number was likely to be more.
Iran, on its part, said that the number reported by AI was not correct and claimed that the actual death toll was lower.
“The numbers and figures that are being given by hostile groups are utter lies and the statistics have serious differences with what they announced,” Iran’s judicial spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said.
Protests broke out in Iran on Nov. 15 over rising oil prices and its rationing, and led to criticism of the country’s theocratic system.
US President Donald Trump also mentioned the protests in Iran on Thursday.
The Iranian regime “has killed hundreds and hundreds of people in a very short period of time. They’re killing protesters. They turned down their internet system. People aren’t hearing what’s going,” said the president.
Days earlier, Trump accused Iran of killing “thousands and thousands” of people.