Iran Used Firearms in Deadly Crackdown on Protesters, Officials Admit
Two weeks after protests first gripped Iran — and quickly turned deadly — the government has officially acknowledged that security officials used firearms to tamp down the widespread demonstrations.
A report on state television on Tuesday said that some of the protesters killed in the crackdown were “rioters who have attacked sensitive or military centers with firearms,” and described how the armed forces had “deftly and vigilantly” fought back against “hostile groups,” according to a translation from The Associated Press.
The comments were among the first admissions by the Iranian authorities that security officers had responded to the demonstrations with lethal force. Iranian officials on Tuesday also denounced reports of the death toll that have emerged since the protests began, saying that the number of victims was much lower but not specifying how many.
“The numbers and figures that are being provided by hostile groups are utter fabrication, and the actual figures are fewer than what these sources claim,” Mr. Esmaili said, according to the news outlet. He did not offer any official figures.
The Iranian authorities have provided little data about how extensive the protests have been, and officials imposed a dayslong internet blackout during the crackdown that further limited the distribution of information on the violence.
“Iran is killing perhaps thousands and thousands of people right now as we speak,” he said, a statement vastly out of line with other estimates. “That is why they cut off the internet, so people can’t see what is going on.”
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