Iranian security forces have killed more than 72 people over the past week, a Norway-based human rights group says, bringing to 416 its death toll related to a brutal state crackdown on more than two months of nationwide protests.
Iran Human Rights on November 22 said that 56 of the new deaths were reported “in Kurdish areas,” where the protests have been at their most intense.
“In addition to the crime of using war bullets against protesters across the country, the Iranian authorities have also systematically and disproportionately killed defenceless people in the Baluch and Kurdish ethnic regions,” said its director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
“This amounts to crimes against humanity which the international community has a duty to take action to prevent its continuation.”
Overall, at least 416 people, including 51 children and 27 women, have been killed since the ongoing wave of demonstrations erupted in mid-September, representing an increase of 38 since the group issued its previous toll three days earlier.
According to Iran Human Rights, 126 of them lost their lives in Sistan-Baluchistan province, home to a Sunni Baluch minority, 48 in Kurdistan, 40 in Tehran, and 45 in West Azerbaijan, where many Kurds live.
November 4 was the bloodiest day this month, with 21 recorded deaths, it said.
The country has been gripped by protests demanding more freedoms and women's rights since the September 16 death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s morality police. She had been arrested for an alleged breach of the country's strict dress code.
The demonstrations have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.