Iran admits killing 'rioters' during gas-price protests

04 Décembre, 2019, 13:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Iranian protesters clash in the streets following fuel price increase in the city of Isfahan central Iran

Altogether, from 180 to 450 people, and possibly more, were killed in four days of intense violence after the gasoline price increase was announced on November 15, with at least 2,000 wounded and 7,000 detained, according to worldwide rights organizations, opposition groups and local journalists.

At least 208 people are believed to have been killed during last month's crackdown on protests in Iran that followed fuel-price hikes, Amnesty International said on December 2.

The oil-rich province's Arab population has long complained of discrimination by Iran's central government and insurgent groups have targeted oil pipelines there in the past. "Real statistics are seriously different from what they announce, and numbers are far less than what they claim". After a monthly 60-litre qota, it costs 55p a litre.

While not drawing as many Iranians into the streets as those protesting the disputed 2009 presidential election, the gasoline price demonstrations rapidly turned violent faster than any previous rallies.

Other rights groups and sources inside Iran said the death toll was close to 400.

Cheap gasoline is widely expected by consumers in Iran, home to the world's fourth-largest crude oil reserves. An average gallon of regular gas in the US costs $2.58 by comparison, according to AAA. That disparity, especially given Iran's oil wealth, fueled the anger felt by demonstrators.

Philip Luther, Amnesty's research and advocacy head for the Middle East, called the number of deaths "evidence that Iran's security forces went on a horrific killing spree", and called on the global community to ensure those responsible are held accountable. The cost of daily staples also has risen.

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An Iranian legislator said last week that about 7,000 protesters had been arrested.

Trump, who was speaking in London where he's attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders summit, was mum on what, if anything, the US could do in response to the violence, but he said, "I think the world has to be watching".

The clarification came shortly after Trump - while at an appearance with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, was asked whether or not he supported the protestors in Iran. Addressing the people of Iran, Pompeo said: "The United States hears you, we support you, and we will continue to stand with you in your struggle for a brighter future for your people and for your great nation". He later clarified he meant the United States offered them no financial support, though it backed their aspirations.

In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with Yusuf bin Alawi, Oman's minister for foreign affairs.

Japan maintains friendly ties with both the United States and Iran and has previously tried to ease tension between the two countries, which severed diplomatic relations shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the USA -backed Shah. Oman, a sultanate on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, has served as an interlocutor between Iran and the U.S.in the past.

Rouhani may end up traveling to Tokyo for a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to seek a way to save the nuclear deal, the Kyodo news agency reported, citing an anonymous official.

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