As protests in Iran continue into their fifth day, opposition broadcaster Radio Farda put the death toll at at least 90, several activists have put the number as high as 200, while the government has yet to announce an official figure. The lack of clarity over the death toll is just another illustration of the difficulty of reporting on Iran, where many news organisations are banned or highly censored.
Drawing on human rights organizations, social media, and journalist reports, Radio Farda reported 90 people had been killed across Iran, pointing to reports of casualties from numerous provinces.
London-based human rights activist Karim Dehimi told Radio Farda that at least 20 people were killed in the city of Mahshahr in “severe” clashes with security forces on Monday.
The western province of Kurdistan and the southwestern province of Khuzestan have so far had the highest number of deaths, according to Radio Farda, which cited Kurdish and Ahwazi activists.
Several activists in Iran , however, put the death toll higher than Radio Farda.
Prominent Iranian journalist Shahed Alavi on Monday quoted a source at Iran’s Ministry of Interior as saying that by 13:00 local time on Monday, 200 people had been killed and more than 3,000 others injured. These numbers were reportedly based on information sent to the Ministry of Interior from provincial governors across Iran.
The government has yet to announce an official figure, with reporting restrictions in Iran making it difficult to reach a precise number from outside.
Meanwhile, the ISNA and Fars news agencies reported late Monday that three members of the Iranian security forces have been stabbed to death by "rioters" near Tehran.
Iran’s state-owned or state-affiliated press has been reporting on the protests, but has not given an official death toll.
The semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported on Monday that the office of the representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the city of Yazd was attacked. Four of the attackers were arrested, said ISNA.
ISNA had previously reported that police arrested 40 people during protests in Yazd on Sunday.
Iran imposed petrol rationing and raised pump prices by at least 50 percent on Friday, claiming the move was aimed at helping citizens in need with cash handouts. The move sparked anti-government across the country.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Sunday backed the government’s decision, blaming the nationwide protests that followed the decision on the Islamic Republic’s opponents and foreign foes.
On Monday, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) warned anti-government protesters of “decisive” action if unrest over gasoline price hikes does not cease, state media said, hinting at a harsh security crackdown.
The IRGC also said on Monday that it arrested 150 protesters in Alborz province, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
The arrested confessed to receiving payments in order to set fire to public property, said Tasnim.
The semi-official Mehr news agency reported late Sunday that one IRGC member and two Basij members were killed in western Tehran by “cold weapons” – a phrase used in Farsi to refer to knives. The Basij force is a paramilitary arm of the IRGC.
The governor of the city of Eslamshahr, south of the capital Tehran, requested assistance from Tehran and neighboring provinces to deal with protesters in the city, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Monday.