Iran regime’s interior minister admits to killing protesters during Iran protests, international community must intervene
The Iranian regime’s Minister of Interior, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, on Saturday announced that between 200 and 255 people lost their lives during the nationwide Iran protests. Although he tried to downplay the regime’s brutality after seven months of silence, the international community must consider this a crime against humanity and regime’s officials should be prosecuted for it.
In an interview on state television, Rahmani Fazli said: “Some have declared the number of deaths was 10,000, some 8,000, some 7,000, some put it at 6,000 or 2,000, but, if God wills, the death toll will be announced in future days and [you would see] the number is not as mentioned. I would like to say that About 40 or 45 people, meaning around 20% of those killed, were shot with nonstandard issue weapons and are even considered to have been martyred.”
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK) due to its vast network inside Iran was able to track the true death toll. As the MEK announced on December 15, 2019, the regime’s security forces killed over 1500 protesters, arrested 12,000 and wounded over 4,000 people during the nationwide Iran protests in November.
On 23 December 2019, in a special report, Reuters also confirmed the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei’s direct order to oppress protesters, resulting in over 1500 people being killed. “About 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on Nov. 15. The toll, provided to Reuters by three Iranian interior ministry officials.”
Human Rights defenders and groups, such as Amnesty International condemned the regime’s use of lethal force in suppressing protesters.
“The fact that so many people were shot while posing no threat whatsoever shows the sheer ruthlessness of the security forces’ unlawful killing spree,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
While the internet is replete with footages from Iran showing the regime’s security forces shooting unarmed protesters in cold blood on the streets, Rahmani Fazli blatantly said: “No armed confrontation with the people happened.”
The nationwide Iran protests started following the regime’s decision to increase the fuel prices, putting additional economic pressure on the Iranian people. Considering the regime as the root of all the economic crises and after the mullahs’ forty years of oppression, the protests soon turned political with people targeting the regime’s top officials, such as its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, in their slogans. They also attacked centers of oppression. The nationwide Iran protests shook the regime’s foundation and showed how restive the Iranian society is.
The regime answered with brutal suppression, and to conceal its crimes, it imposed an internet blackout for days. The regime was also afraid of the role by the Iranian Resistance in exposing its brutality and in leading the uprising.
In this regard, Rahmani Fazli said: “They say Rahmani shut down the internet on those days. I surely did. Because they were commanding and training [people] through the internet. Why are people upset? They were looking to start a civil war. As the country’s security officials, we had been tracking their activities; they were planning for months. The fuel price [hike] sparked this. It had a vast social aspect and field, yet it should have been much larger than this. They wanted to make chaos in the country and turn our country into another Syria. Preserving [the regime’s] security is our priority.”
On May 20, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Rahmani Fazli for his role in serious human rights abuses against Iranian people, along with seven senior officials of the Iranian regime’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and a provincial commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
“As the Iranian regime’s Interior Minister and chair of Iran’s National Domestic Security Council (NDSC), Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli (Rahmani Fazli) has responsibilities for overseeing internal security issues, including Iran’s LEF. Rahmani Fazli holds the title of ‘Deputy or Replacement Commander-in Chief of Police Forces,’ as delegated to him by the Supreme Leader. Rahmani Fazli has issued orders authorizing the LEF to use lethal force in response to the November 2019 protests, resulting in violence against peaceful protestors and bystanders. His orders led to the killing of many protesters, including at least 23 minors,” the Treasury Department announced.
Although Rahmani Fazli’s acknowledgment that the regime has killed over 200 people during the November uprising is important, he refused to announce the real death toll.
For seven months, the regime’s officials refused to give any statistics about the Iran protests’ casualties. The reason is they are afraid that announcing the death toll would once again cause a spark in the Iranian society and result in a nationwide uprising. Their silence is reminiscent of the regime’s 30 years of denying the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly the MEK supporters, in a matter of months in 1988. The regime has not even given the location of their graves to their family members. This is much like the regime’s downplaying of the coronavirus outbreak. According to the MEK, so far 48,200 people have lost their lives because of COVID-19 and the regime’s inaction. Yet the regime tries to downplay this crisis and even has ordered people back to work amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet on January 8, but for days, despite undeniable evidence, the regime’s officials denied shooting down this airliner. When they did, in matter of hours, Iranian people, with students at their forefront, poured onto the streets and unanimously demanded regime change.
Therefore, the regime knows well, that announcing the November protests death toll, or even the coronavirus death toll, will trigger and explosion within the Iranian society, which does not forget and forgive the regime.
On the other hand, announcing the real death toll will have severe international consequences for the regime.
Although the regime desperately tries to control the Iranian society by deception and lying, yet due to the Iranian Resistance’s activity in revealing the truth, informing the public and the international community, as well as the growing economic pressure on the people, the society will explode one day or another.
Ahmad Naderi, a regime official, told the state-run Resalat daily on March 7: “I am worried about the social and security outcome of this crisis. Soon, rebellions, much larger than the ones in 2018 and 2019 and certainly much larger than the ones in the 1990s, will happen.”
On April 7, Iran-Emrouz state-run daily wrote: “We are going to have a major social upheaval after the Coronavirus is over. The situation is not going to be calm. It is going to be exactly like the period after the 2017 elections (uprisings), and we are going to see repeated and powerful incidents.”
The state-run Resalat daily wrote on Tuesday, May 26: “Only one excuse is needed, then like a match flame that falls into a haystack, everything [of the regime] will be burnt.”