Dec 5, 2019

1,000 Iranians may have been killed in protests, U.S. estimates

Brian Hook. Photo: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook said at a press conference Thursday that the Iranian government "could have murdered over 1,000 Iranian citizens" during a crackdown on protests in recent weeks, calling it "the worst political crisis the regime has faced in its 40 years."

Why it matters: While the Iranian government appears to have carried out its deadliest crackdown since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Hook's number is far higher than most other credible estimates. Amnesty International has confirmed 208 deaths.

The big picture: The protests began several weeks ago after the Iranian government hiked gas prices by 50%, prompting anti-regime demonstrators to take to the streets within 72 hours.

  • Hook confirmed a New York Times report that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps opened fire on unarmed protestors in the southwest city of Mahshahr, claiming that videos received by the State Department show as many as 100 Iranians were murdered and loaded into trucks.
  • He added that "many thousands" of protestors have been injured and at least 7,000 have been detained. Hook said that two prisons to which many of the protestors have been taken "meet the criteria for gross human rights violations."
  • President Hassan Rouhani has called for many of the protesters to be freed, though it's unclear whether and when that will happen.

Go deeper: Iranian government meets growing protests with harsher crackdown

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106 killed in Iran protests, human rights group says

Iranians gather around a charred police station while they protest the increase in oil prices in Isfahan, Iran. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

At least 106 people have been killed in Iran since protests over increased oil prices began last week, according to human rights group Amnesty International, which says the true death toll could be far higher.

The big picture: Iran was much quicker to use violent measures this time than during previous protests. The Iranian government also shut down the internet to prevent social media from further mobilizing protesters, per CNN.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

In mass arrests, Iran detains eight accused of CIA ties

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Hossein Salami at a pro-government demonstration on Nov. 25, 2019 in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran says it has arrested over 500 people in the aftermath of protests over gas prices, AFP reports, and the regime claimed on late Wednesday that eight of those detained are linked to the CIA.

The big picture: Iran cut Internet access for the vast majority of the country earlier this month after protests erupted on Nov. 15. Human rights group Freedom House told Axios' Joe Uchill that the blackout prevented global reporting on Iranian police abuses and stifled coordination between protestors.

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019

Iranian government meets growing protests with harsher crackdown

Protesters in Isfahan, Iran, on Nov. 16, 2019. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has likened the recent wave of protests to a “vast, very dangerous and planned conspiracy,” but, in fact, the demonstrations reflect growing shifts among the people of Iran and in neighboring countries.

The big picture: Khamenei and the rest of the regime have long pointed a finger abroad when under strain at home. But they're now facing greater pressure and responding with firmer tactics, including the use of lethal force under the cover of an internet blackout.

Go deeperArrowDec 2, 2019