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IRANIAN state TV today acknowledged that security forces shot and killed protesters in multiple cities during the recent uprising.
The televised report alleged that some of those killed were “rioters who have attacked sensitive or military centres with firearms or knives or have taken hostages in some areas.”
Others killed were described as passers-by and peaceful protesters, though blame was not assigned for their deaths.
It is the first time authorities have admitted to the violence they deployed against protesters.
Tudeh Party international secretary Navid Shomali told the Morning Star: “The theocratic regime has realised that the denial of the killing is impossible in trying to falsify the extent of killings during the period since November 16.”
He said: “The regime is portraying itself as the main bastion of stability in the region and — when faced with intense popular anger — labels tens of thousands of protesters against its reactionary policies as forces mobilised from abroad.
“This is manifestly not the case … Those campaigning in Iran for their rights and for a change of direction are vociferous advocates of democracy, peace, progress and social justice.
“They are people born and brought up under theocratic rule and are clearly convinced of the futility of expecting any progressive change coming from the regime.”
Mr Shomali said the regime’s “use of brutal force” during the past three weeks has been “unprecedented” and that it intends to “spread fear among the protesters.”
He said: “Over half the dead were shot in the head or upper body. Hence, this was not a simple policy of pacification of protesters but one of shoot to kill.”
Last week Mir Husain Mousavi, the first prime minister after the 1979 revolution, compared the protests and widespread killings to the attack on September 8 1978 by the Shah’s army on protesters in Jaleh Square in Tehran — an event known as Black Friday.
Thousands then were killed or injured by the regime’s forces.
The number of confirmed dead since protests against government-set gas price rises began on November 15 is rising daily as information gradually becomes available within the country.
Amnesty International believes that the crackdown killed at least 208 people. An Iranian judiciary official disputed that toll as “sheer lies.”
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