By Pooya Stone
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli said in a state TV interview on Saturday that 200 protesters were killed by the suppressive security forces during the November 2019 uprising that spread to at least 140 cities.
He made this claimed while 1,500 is the actual number of protesters killed. However, this is was a deliberate attempt to downplay the number of protesters murdered by the regime they protested against.
Fazli claimed that they said that 10,000 people were killed in that month of protest, something that no one has said. He then insinuated that some 20% of deaths during the protests were the result of protesters attacking passersby, something there is no evidence for, and that they would be registered as martyrs.
Fazli then admitted that the regime was responsible for the internet shutdown that occurred as protests began in order to prevent protesters from talking to each other or reporting the brutal suppression to anyone outside of Iran.
He said: “Of course, I [shut down the Internet] because they provided training and commanded the field via the Internet… Maintaining security is important for all of us, and is the basis of all activities.”
It should be noted that in December Fazli was confronted by a parliament deputy who asked why two people in his constituency were shot in the head, as opposed to a place that wouldn’t kill them. He responded that they were also shot in the feet, which seems to imply that he doesn’t care about whether people live or die.
Fazli said that the number of protesters killed during the uprising will be announced soon, but this is just more evidence of officials placing the blame on others and reflects their concerns over the consequences of the massacre.
It is unlikely the figures will be released. President Hassan Rouhani said in February that the Coroner’s office had the numbers and could release them, but a decision by the Supreme National Security Council means that only the government can release the figures.
Given that this was just as the coronavirus began sweeping Iran, you’d think the regime would be keen to bury bad news, so how bad might these figures be if the regime didn’t release them amid the coronavirus crisis?
The Iranian opposition has consistently stated that the November 2019 massacre of protesters was a crime against humanity, so the officials must be prosecuted at an international tribunal.