Iran has for the first time reported that more than 300 people have died in over two months of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.
The Islamic republic has deployed state security forces against what it labels “riots” that broke out after the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian died on September 16, three days after her arrest for allegedly breaching Iran’s dress code for women.
“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 toll includes those who have taken to the streets as well as dozens of police, troops, and IRGC militia who have died in clashes with demonstrators or who were killed elsewhere.
The latest official toll is much closer to figures published by human rights groups based abroad.
Oslo-based non-governmental organisation Iran Human Rights said at least 448 people had been ‘killed by security forces in the ongoing nationwide protests’, in an updated toll issued on Tuesday.
The group says its toll includes those killed in violence related to the Amini protests and in distinct unrest in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Thousands of Iranians and around 40 foreigners have been arrested and more than 2,000 people have been charged, according to judicial authorities.
Among these, six have been sentenced to death, with their appeals set to be heard by the supreme court.
One more man, identified as Majid Rahnavard, went on trial Tuesday accused of stabbing to death two Basij members in the northeastern city of Mashhad on November 17, Mizan Online reported.
He faces the death penalty if found guilty of killing the pair who, Iranian media reported, had tried to intervene against ‘rioters threatening businesses to force them to close’.