The number of people killed during the Iranian government crackdown on nationwide protests has now reached at least 304, according to a Norway-based human rights organization.
As many as 41 children were among those killed, Iran Human Rights said in a statement on Sunday.
Many schoolchildren have joined the wave of protests sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Tehran’s morality police. The largely peaceful demonstrations have grown to become the biggest challenge to Iran’s regime since the 2009 protest movement.
The unrest triggered a heavy-handed crackdown in which security forces fired bullets and tear gas at protesters. Several thousand people have also been arrested.
The group said protesters have been killed in 22 provinces, with the highest number of deaths reported to have occurred in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan, Mazandaran, Tehran, Gilan and Kurdistan. The highest number of deaths were recorded on 21, 22 and 30 September.
"According to official reports, dozens of protesters have been charged with the security-related charges of moharebeh [enmity against God] and fesad-fil-arz [corruption on earth] which carry the death penalty. The Islamic Republic’s history and current evidence indicate that they intend to use the death penalty as a tool of political repression to intimidate their opposition," the statement added.