A top Iranian security agency has reported that more than 200 people, including members of the security forces, have been killed in protests across the country since September.
The ongoing demonstrations were ignited by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16, 2022. She died while in police custody after being accused of breaking strict mandatory hijab rules, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
As the protests have continued, they now focus on Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and demand an end to the Islamic government.
Meanwhile, foreign-based rights organizations have said that the death toll from the protests could be over 400. Rights group HRANA on Friday reported that 469 protesters had been killed, including 64 minors.
In response, Iranian government officials have been blaming the revolt on foreign enemies, including the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
“Iran has the most progressive constitution in the world” because it marries “ideals with democracy,” Reuters quoted President Ebrahim Raisi saying in a speech to parliamentarians.
“The constitution guarantees the (existence) of the Islamic system,” he said, adding that it also “guarantees fundamental rights and legitimate freedoms.”
The United Nations has responded to the violence against demonstrators, calling on the Iranian government to refrain from using “disproportionate force” in response to the protests, and has called for the release of political prisoners.
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