A leading organisation campaigning on human, democratic and trade union rights in Iran has appealed to progressive and freedom-seeking people and their organisations globally to put pressure on the Iranian regime to halt the violence perpetrated during recent days against peaceful demonstrators demanding a reversal of the massive hike in petrol prices announced without warning.
The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has said that petrol prices were put up by 50% and 300% without warning and that mass demonstrations have erupted in 23 out of the 31 provinces in Iran.
Jamshid Ahmadi, Assistant General Secretary of CODIR, said, “Peaceful protests have been met with extreme and systematic violence from the police and security services across the country.
According to the latest reports coming out of Iran, hundreds are dead and thousands have been wounded in a continuing brutal crackdown by the authorities.
Many people are missing and there has been no official confirmation of the names of those killed, amidst a complete news blackout and internet shutdown across the country. Iran is effectively a country currently in lockdown. Hospitals are reporting that the majority of deaths and injuries are from gunshot wounds to the head and upper torso, underlining the widespread fears that the regime is operating a ‘shoot to kill’ policy.”
There are reports emerging that on Sunday 17 November, Ali Khamenei, the regime’s Supreme Leader, issued clear instructions that the protest movement be crushed at whatever cost. The security forces and their Basij militia auxiliaries took this as their green light and moved accordingly.
Rupert Colville, the spokesperson of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated on Tuesday 19th November: “We are deeply concerned by reported violations of international norms and standards on the use of force, including the firing of live ammunition, against demonstrators in Iran”, He further stated: “It would suggest that it is not simply the immediate trigger to the protest which was a rise in fuel prices, but…much deeper-seated problems persisting in the country.”
At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, according to credible reports received by Amnesty International. The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.
The Iranian authorities have warned that those responsible for sending reports and footage of the situation inside the country will be traced, arrested and charged on national security and treason grounds.
In a fevered attempt to prevent details reaching the outside world, the regime has shut down the country’s internet - a situation which has continued since the weekend and no small feat in a country like Iran - and phone lines are being monitored by the security forces.
CODIR is therefore calling on individuals and organisations to:
· Show their solidarity with the Iranian people in this their darkest hour,
· Demand that the Iranian government immediately release all of those protesters detained over the last few days - and, at the very least, allow access to the detained by medical personnel and legal representatives,
· Demand that the Iranian government account for the violence towards the protesters - particularly the actioning of ‘shoot to kill’ orders, and the source of these orders,
· Demand that the Iranian government release accurate figures for the numbers of protesters killed, injured and detained over the last few days - and their identities,
· Issue a statement of support for the protesters and the long-suffering people of Iran in their struggle for peace, human and democratic rights, and social justice.