At least 378 people, including 47 children and 27 women, have been killed so far by Iranian security forces amid a crackdown on weekslong nationwide protests, a Norway-based human rights group says in an updated toll.
The country has been gripped by anti-government protests sparked by the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police following her arrest for an alleged breach of the country's strict dress code.
The demonstrations demanding more freedoms and women's rights have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Oslo-based Iran Human Rights on November 19 put the death toll of the state crackdown on protests at 378, representing an increase of 36 since the group issued its previous toll three days earlier.
It includes at least 123 people killed in Sistan-Baluchistan province, 40 in both Kurdistan and Tehran province, and 39 in West Azerbaijan.
As many as 47 children and 27 women were among those killed.
Iran Human Rights said the authorities reject responsibility for the killings, attributing them to “terrorist and foreign groups.”
This “disinformation campaign” has escalated ahead of a November 24 special session of the UN Human Rights Council set to consider establishing an “independent investigation and accountability mechanism" over the state crackdown on protests, it said.
“The purpose of the disinformation campaigns and attributing the killing of protesters to foreign armed groups is to pave the way for an even more widespread use of live ammunition against protesters,” Iran Human Rights Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said.