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Iran’s protest crackdown killed dozens of people in a week: IHR

Iranian security forces have killed 72 people in the past week alone in their crackdown on the protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, a rights group has said.

Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Tuesday that 416 people had been killed by security forces nationwide in Iran, including 51 children and 21 women.

IHR said 72 people lost their lives in the past week alone, including 56 in western Kurdish-populated areas where there has been an upsurge in protest activity in recent days.

Several towns in Kurdish-populated western Iran, including Mahabad, Javanroud and Piranshahr, have seen large protests, often starting at the funerals of those previously slain in demonstrations.

Ahead of a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday in Geneva devoted to Iran, UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk described the situation as “critical” amid a “hardening of the response by security forces”, spokesman Jeremy Laurence said. 

Laurence voiced particular concern at the authorities’ “apparent refusal to release the bodies of those killed to their families”, and deplored them for making such releases “conditional on the families not speaking to the media or agreeing to give a false narrative on the cause of death”.

Iran reports deaths as gunmen open fire in protest-hit cities

‘Systematic killing’

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran on Monday urged the international community to act to prevent a massacre in Kurdish-populated areas.

“Unless the Islamic republic authorities decide the costs of massacring civilians to crush the ongoing protests in Iran are too high, they will continue to slaughter children, women and men with impunity in a desperate attempt to reassert control,” said CHRI director Hadi Ghaemi.

According to figures collated by IHR, over half of those killed by the Iranian security forces in the crackdown have died in provinces populated by ethnic minorities.

It said 126 people had been killed in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, largely populated by the Sunni Baluch minority, where the protests had a separate spark but fed into the nationwide anger.

“Systematic killing of civilian protesters belonging to the Kurdish and Baluch minorities amounts to crimes against humanity,” IHR director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam said.

Meanwhile, the judiciary in Iran said 40 foreign nationals have been arrested during the protests, without giving further details.

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