On the third anniversary of the nationwide protests of December 2017 and January 2018, Amnesty International renews
its calls for justice for the dozens of protesters, including children, who were killed by Iran’s security forces across the
country, and their bereaved families. The organization also stands in solidarity with those seeking truth and accountability
for the thousands of protesters who were arbitrarily detained, those who suffered torture or other ill-treatment in detention,
those who died in custody in suspicious circumstances and those who were subsequently sentenced to death or executed
following grossly unfair trials.
Three years on from the deadly crackdown, the Iranian authorities have refused to open even a single criminal
investigation into the litany of crimes and human rights violations committed by Iran’s security forces both during the
protests and in their aftermath, including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and
grossly unfair trials leading to the execution of at least one protester and death sentences for several others.
Instead, consistent with longstanding patterns of state cover-up and denial, the authorities have subjected victims’
families to intimidation and harassment to prevent them from speaking out. They have also issued false statements and
propaganda videos to deny or distort the truth about the extensive unlawful use of live ammunition by security forces
against protesters who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury, and to falsely attribute responsibility for
the protest killings to armed “rioters” working for the “enemies” of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The spokesperson of the judiciary stated on 14 January 2018 that 25 individuals had been killed during the protests, but
the organization believes that the real number may be higher.
The prevailing impunity afforded to the security forces and the muted response of the international community has only
emboldened the Iranian authorities to escalate their unlawful use of lethal force in the subsequent mass protests of
November 2019, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
The aftermath of the deadly crackdown of December 2017 and January 2018 also involved an increasing use of the death
penalty as a weapon of political repression. At least one protester, Mostafa Salehi, was executed in August 2020 in
connection with the protests and five others remain at risk of execution including Mohammad Bastami, Mehdi Salehi,
Hadi Kiani, Abbas Mohammadi and Majid Nazari. In an unprecedented development in recent decades, the authorities
also executed dissident journalist Rouhollah Zam in December 2020 in connection with his popular news channel
AmadNews, which they blamed for stirring up the protests of December 2017 and January 2018.
The authorities’ cycle of bloodshed in Iran must not be allowed to continue.
It falls on the international community to pressure the Iranian authorities to stop the recurrent pattern of using lethal force
to crush protests, including by the UN Human Rights Council establishing an independent international investigation into
the protests of November 2019 when the crackdown reached an unprecedented level since the 1980s.
Between late December 2017 and mid-January 2018, thousands of people in over 100 cities across Iran took to the
streets to speak out against poverty, corruption, political repression and authoritarianism. At the time, Iran had not seen
protests on this scale since those which followed the disputed presidential election of 2009.
Iran, January 7, 2021—On Monday, January 5, the staff and nurses of hospitals in different cities of the country, including Khuzestan, Isfahan, Yazd and Karaj, gathered in their workplaces, seeking answers for their pending demands.
Nurses in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran, held a rally in front of the governor’s office, demanding their delayed paychecks and an increase in their salaries. In Isfahan province, health department staff also held a rally demanding a change in their job status.
Nurses and contract employees of the Yazd Medical Sciences University also gathered in front of the MP’s office, protesting the change in their employment status and discrimination in the payment of salaries and job benefits.
Also, a group of employees of Khomeini Hospital in the city of Karaj, northwest Tehran, gathered in front of the Alborz Governor’s Office protesting unpaid salaries.
During the rally, they chanted slogans such as “enough with the promises, our tables are empty,” and they demanded their demands be fully met.
Strike by Faryab mine workers in Kerman province
On Tuesday, January 5, workers of the Faryab mine in Kerman province went on strike for the fourth consecutive day, protesting the officials’ refusal to pay their wages demanding the implementation of the job classification plan.
Workers at the Faryab chromite mine in Kerman province have been on strike since Sunday, protesting their several-month delayed paychecks in 2019 and their unclear contract status in 2020.
According to the protesting workers, they do not have proper work suits, contracts and paychecks, and any protest in this mine will be answered by deduction of salary or dismissal.
Lorestan agro-industrial contract workers continue their protest
Lorestan agro-industrial contract workers continue their protest
On Tuesday, a group of workers in the Lorestan Agro-Industrial Complex Company held a protest rally for the second consecutive day, demanding a change in their job contracts to direct contract.
These workers held a similar rally on January 3, stopping working for several hours and gathering in the compound’s yard. They are seeking answers to their demands by company officials.
“We have been pursuing the change in our job status for several years and we have been demanding our legal claims from the company, but so far no official has been held accountable,” the protesting workers said.
Protest rally by workers of the Navid Zar Chimi in the port of Mahshahr, Khuzestan province
A group of workers of the Navid Zar Chimi Company in the city of Mahshahr, gathered in front of the company building on Tuesday, protesting their delayed paychecks.
The protesters, who had previously gone on strike, say that in addition to not paying their salaries for several months, the company’s executives are refusing to grant special zone privileges to employees because the company is private.
The protesting workers added that when a job bonus is approved by the Ministry of Oil, they are classified as non-oil workers, and when a job bonus is announced by Social Security organization, they are classified as Oil Ministry workers.
The workers say the protests will continue in the coming days until their demands are met.
The cry of hungry workers and retirees in the city of Shadegan, Khuzestan province, southeast Iran
A group of families of workers and retirees who have gone below the poverty line due to high prices and inflation, held a protest rally on Wednesday, January 6, holding placards reading “Cry of hungry workers retirees.”
“The officials who are sitting there are and only thinking about themselves and their children! So, when did you care about us? Aren’t we Muslims? You who claim to be Muslims, why don’t you care about these children whose parents do not even have the money to buy dry milk for them?” said one of the women participating in the rally to the officials.
Iran, December 24, 2020—The majority of Iran’s population live in poverty. Among the struggling communities are the retirees, whose income after 30 years of hard work is at one fifth of Iran’s poverty line, valued at about 100 million rials (approx. $380). The situation has led to constant protests in various provinces.
In the past weeks, communities of pensioners have organized demonstrations against poverty and discrimination in Tehran, East Azarbaijan, Isfahan, Alborz, Ilam, Razavi Khorasan, North Khorasan, Khuzestan, Zanjan, Gilan, Lorestan, Central Province, Hamedan, and Yazd. They protest their wages being incomparable to current government employees. According to state laws, the difference between the wages of employees and retirees shouldn’t be higher than 15 percent. But today, the gap stands at above 50 percent.
Some state-run media, including the daily Hamdeli, warned of a possible nationwide protest.
“Many social riots after the revolution began in these areas,” wrote the paper on December 13, adding, “We are cutting corners in sectors that have previously hurt us. The January 2018 protests started by those who were concerned about their daily livelihoods.”
The retirees are not the only segment of the society being hit by economic problems that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis. In recent weeks, in Tehran and other major cities, the protests of various classes in the society continue against the regime’s mismanagement and inhuman policies. But due to the regime’s repressive measures and censorship, it is not possible to gather all the information. However, the considerable number of protest rallies in the past month indicates the extent and depth of dissent across the society.
Shadegan water and sewage workers, poultry owners, farmers, nurses, contractors, private sector drivers, bus drivers, nomads, and Ahvaz urban train workers were among communities that have protested in recent months.
Also, people living in regions hit by seasonal floods protested the regime’s inaction and negligence toward their situation. The regime’s inhuman delay in providing any support has imposed poverty, misery, and oppression on these people.
In their slogans, the protesters targeted regime’s officials as the main sources of their problems. The flood victims in Khomeini Port occupied the municipality. In another protest movement, political prisoners went on hunger strike in different prisons.
A bankrupt economy, skyrocketing prices, and the looting of people’s wealth by the regime have impacted the lives of millions of Iranians. The people struggle for the most basic needs. All these protests are to realize the most basic wages, much of which remain unpaid by the regime.
Iran: UN calls for accountability on 1988 prison massacres marks turning point in three-decade struggle
9 December 2020, 00:00 UTC
A group of UN human rights experts have written to the Iranian government warning that past and ongoing violations related to prison massacres in 1988 may amount to crimes against humanity and that they will call for an international investigation if these violations persist, a push for accountability welcomed by Amnesty international on the eve of International Human Rights Day.
“The UN experts’ communication is a momentous breakthrough. It marks a turning point in the long-standing struggles of victims’ families and survivors, supported by Iranian human rights organizations and Amnesty International, to end these crimes and obtain truth, justice and reparation,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Top UN human rights experts have now sent an unequivocal, and long overdue, message: the ongoing crimes of mass enforced disappearances resulting from the secret extrajudicial executions of 1988 can no longer go unaddressed and unpunished”, said Diana Eltahawy.
Decades of crimes against humanity
Between late July and early September 1988, thousands of imprisoned political dissidents across Iran were forcibly disappeared and then extrajudicially executed in secret.
For more than 30 years, the Iranian authorities have systematically concealed the circumstances surrounding their deaths and the whereabouts of their remains, thereby subjecting the victims, including those killed and their surviving families, to the crime of enforced disappearance.
In their 18-page communication, which was first sent privately to the Iranian government on 3 September 2020, the UN experts state that they “are seriously concerned by the alleged continued refusal to disclose the fate and whereabouts” of these individuals.
The UN experts’ communication is a momentous breakthrough. It marks a turning point in the long-standing struggles of victims’ families and survivors, supported by Iranian human rights organizations and Amnesty International, to end these crimes and obtain truth, justice and reparation.
They write that they “are further alarmed by the authorities’ refusal to provide families with accurate and complete death certificates, the destruction of mass graves, the ongoing threats and harassment of the families, the lack of investigation and prosecution for the killings, and the statements from the Government denying or trivializing the cases and equating criticizing the killings as support for terrorism.”
The communication underlines that these enforced disappearances continue in effect “until the fate and whereabouts of the individuals concerned are established”.
Consistent with their calls for thorough, impartial and independent investigations into all cases, the exhumation and return of remains to families, the identification and prosecution of perpetrators, and the provision of effective remedy for the victims, the UN human rights experts have asked Iran to provide detailed information on, among other things,
Whether the names of the individuals executed were included in public burial registers;
Measures taken to identify, recognize, protect and commemorate desecrated mass graves;
Known information on the identities of those interred in each gravesite, as well as data on unidentified persons;
Any provisions to allow families to commemorate and pay their respects at burial sites; and
Legal provisions to protect families and human rights defenders who seek information on the fate and whereabouts of victims of enforced disappearances and who demand justice.
The UN experts also stated that if the Iranian government “continues to refuse to uphold its obligations under international human rights law,” they “will call on the international community to take action to investigate the cases including through the establishment of an international investigation.”
Since the publication of Amnesty International’s 2018 report Blood-soaked secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity, the organization has been calling for the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent, impartial and effective international mechanism to address impunity for the crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law identified in the report.
“The breadth and strength of the UN expert analysis serves as a crucial stepping stone in our ongoing push to have the UN Human Rights Council to take action to end impunity for these past and ongoing crimes against humanity,” said Diana Eltahawy.
The UN experts issuing the September 2020 communication are members of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.
Amnesty International has compiled evidence of the involvement of several individuals who continue to hold high positions of power in the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions including: the current head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi; the current minister of justice, Alireza Avaei; the former minister of justice and current advisor to the head of the judiciary, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi; the head of the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges, Hossein Ali Nayyeri; and Mohamamd Hossein Ahmadi, a member of the Assembly of Experts, a constitutional body that has the power to appoint or dismiss Iran’s Supreme Leader.
Iran, December 4, 2020—Over 176,500 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 465 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, as of Friday afternoon local time, December 4. The official death toll declared by the regime stands at 49,695, nearly a fourth of the actual figure.
The coronavirus death toll in various provinces include: 43,611 in Tehran, 12,370 in Razavi Khorasan, 10,155 in Isfahan, 7185 in Lorestan, 7020 in Qom, 6978 in East Azerbaijan, 6580 in West Azerbaijan, 5127 in Fars, 4715 in Alborz, 4446 in Sistan & Baluchistan, 3604 in Kerman, 3771 in Kermanshah, 3081 in Kurdistan, 2057 in Ardabil, 1819 in Bushehr, 1797 in Zanjan, 1807 in Qazvin, and 1370 in Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari. This is in addition to reports obtained from other provinces.
“In the past 24 hours, 45 Covid-19 patients have lost their lives. What has yet to decrease is the number of dire patients that remain above the 370 mark. There has not been much change here and the death rate remains similar to the past few weeks,” said the spokesperson of the Isfahan Medical Sciences University on Thursday. “We still do not have adequate circumstances and the status quo has become even more critical. If restrictions are to be lifted and we return to the normal circumstances witnessed back in March and April, conditions will become even more critical than they are now. We are a long distance away from calm and peace in our medical system and from announcing adequate conditions,” the official added, according to the Fars news agency, an outlet linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
“During the past 24 hours we have lost 28 patients to coronavirus in Fars province and the total death toll here has reached 2589,” said the director of public relations at Fars Medical Sciences University on Thursday. “Currently we have 1850 patients hospitalized, of which 319 are in ICUs,” the official added, according to the Mehr news agency, an outlet linked to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
“The expansion of this virus has increased in our province and the number of new daily cases double the country’s average,” said the dean of Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmed Medical Sciences University on Thursday, according to the IRGC-linked Tasnim news agency.
“Despite the imposed restrictions and an increase in Covid-19 limitations in our province, the status quo of the coronavirus transmission remains red and alarming,” said the dean of Ardabil Medical Sciences University on Friday. “The high number of people being hospitalized on a daily basis indicates that the Covid-19 transmission chain has not been broken or even decreased in our province. The conditions ahead of us are very concerning,” the official added, according to the Mehr news agency.
“The fact that red zones [in Mazandaran province, northern Iran] have increased from three to six, and this coming 12 days after heavy quarantine measures adopted by the National Covid-19 Task Force, raise questions in people’s minds and even among senior officials and those in our red cities,” according to a Thursday report wired by the regime’s official IRNA news agency.
“Hospitals in [Markazi] province are in urgent need of nine oxygen devices and tanks, along with supplementary equipment to provide medical care for coronavirus patients. Oxygen therapy for Covid-19 patients is key in the treatment process and the shortage in oxygen devices is considered a catastrophe for our medical apparatus,” said the deputy dean of Markazi Medical Sciences University on Friday, according to IRNA.
“Covid-19 continues to spread in Zanjan province. Since the beginning of this pandemic more than 1,000 medical staff members of our provinces have contracted coronavirus,” said the dean of Zanjan Medical Sciences University on Thursday, according to the Mehr news agency.
Iran is one of only six countries that have not signed the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and women living there are denied even the most basic rights over their bodies, relationships, children, education, and employment.
Meanwhile, men are allowed to beat and even kill their wives and children, which means that violence against women is not only prevalent but also sanctioned by law.
Let’s look at just some of the so-called honor killings, which account for 50 percent of homicides, that occurred since February because of the misogynistic policies of the ayatollahs and the laws that allow men to kill women with impunity.
Kowsar Gol Soghanloo, 15, was set on fire by her husband
Hadith, 11, was strangled to death by her father after he realized that he would not receive a harsh punishment for murdering her
Hajareh Hussein Bor, 20, was murdered by her husband after repeatedly complaining of domestic violence
Romina Ashrafi, 13, was beheaded with a sickle by her father, even after telling a judge that he was abusing her
Sarina Ghafouri, 25, was killed by her brother who wanted to stop her from remarrying
Fatemeh Barhi, 19, was beheaded by her husband after she tried to leave him
Mina was killed by her ex-husband
Somayeh Fathi, 18, was killed by her father and brother, even though she was pregnant
Reyhaneh Ameri, 22, was killed by her father with an ax, three years after he was first caught trying to murder her
Iran, November 18, 2020—Over 159,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 465 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, as of Wednesday afternoon local time, November 18. The official death toll declared by the regime stands at 42,941, nearly a fourth of the actual figure.
The coronavirus death toll in various provinces include: 38,941 in Tehran, 8955 in Isfahan, 6705 in Lorestan, 6540 in Qom, 6472 in Mazandaran, 5969 in East Azerbaijan, 5496 in in Gilan, 5328 in West Azerbaijan, 4357 in Fars, 4310 in Alborz, 3478 in Kermanshah, 3018 in Markazi (Central), 2850 in Kurdistan, 2767 in Yazd, 2704 in Kerman, 1760 in Ardabil, 1628 in Qazvin, 1500 in Zanjan, 1485 in Ilam, 1416 in South Khorasan, and 1114 in Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmed. This is in addition to reports obtained from other provinces.
Infographic-Over 159,000 dead of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran-Iran Coronavirus Death Toll per PMOI/MEK sources
Infographic-Over 159,000 dead of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran-Iran Coronavirus Death Toll per PMOI/MEK sources
“There are various remarks regarding the stats. Some increase in numbers could be due to chronic illnesses, including heart disease. However, people can get the numbers from the cemeteries and maybe on some days that the numbers are high, the general number of deaths, and suspected and possible daily Covid-19 deaths could reach four digits,” said the spokesperson for the regime’s Health Ministry on Wednesday. “We do not announce the number of possible or suspicious cases on a daily basis. The number of confirmed cases based on PCR tests are most likely higher. We are not seeking to hide any stats and with each passing day the precision in our stats increase. Around 50 percent of our Covid-19 patients hospitalized in ICUs are dying. Four of every 10,000 cases are contracting the virus for a second time,” she added, according to the regime’s official IRNA news agency.
Amnesty International reports that Iranian security forces killed at least 304 people, including children, during the five days of protest in November 2019, using unlawful lethal force by shooting the majority of people in the head or torso, “indicating intent to kill”.
This massacre was largely covered up at the time due to an internet blackout, designed to stop protesters from communicating with each other or the rest of the world, which obstructs the research into these human rights violations. To date, no one has been held accountable for this horrific crime.
Amnesty even admits that we may never know the true number of victims because of the cover-up, although they have done their best to share the stories of those we do know about on a new website dedicated to the protests.
What Happened in November 2019?
Protests erupted across Iran on November 15, 2019, in response to the government’s tripling of fuel prices overnight, which would hit impoverished people the hardest. This quickly turned into the biggest anti-establishment protests since the 1979 revolution, with people loudly and proudly calling for regime change.
Videos of the protests and the government’s crackdown appeared online, where they were authenticated and analyzed by Amnesty’s Digital Verification Corps. On November 16, Amnesty says that “at least 100 unarmed protesters and bystanders” were killed, even though international human rights law bans the use of lethal force unless there is an “imminent threat of death or serious injury”.
The government then ordered an internet blackout, which was confirmed by several freedoms of expression non-governmental organizations, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered the security forces to go further.
Between November 21 and 27, the internet was slowly restored, although much evidence of the state’s human rights abuses was lost. Many witnesses told Amnesty that they deleted videos and the like from their phones for fear of being caught with it.
Amnesty had already released the evidence of those first 100 deaths at this point, although Iran’s Mission to the United Nations and other Iranian authorities denied this. But, through relentless crosschecking of information from relatives, human rights activists, and journalists, Amnesty has now verified 304 people murdered by the security services, 220 of whom died within 48 hours of the internet shut down.
The verification is as follows:
233 identified by first and last name
Six by first or last name
65 by age, gender, and location of the injury
Those murdered in the indiscriminate killings include:
Mohammad Dastankhah, 15, shot in the heart and lungs on his way home from school
Azar Mirzapour, a 49-year-old nurse and mother of four, walking home from work, who had called her family to say she was just minutes away
Bahman Jafari, 28, was shot in the heart and stomach on his way to work
“In almost all protests that took place between 15 and 19 November, there is no evidence that protesters posed an imminent threat to life or of causing serious injury to another person,” Amnesty wrote.
As such, the use of firearms by the authorities was completely unwarranted. Information obtained from eyewitnesses suggested that, in most cases, security forces deliberately fired live ammunition at victims’ heads or torsos. This claim is supported by the description of injuries cited on 24 death or burial certificates seen by Amnesty International.”
Amnesty called for urgent action from the government but the sad truth is that justice will never be served while the ayatollahs are in power.
Iran, October 17, 2020—Over 126,300 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 458 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to reports tallied by the Iranian opposition as of Sunday afternoon local time, October 18. The official death toll declared by the regime stands at 30,375, around a fourth of the actual figure.
The coronavirus death toll in various provinces include: 30,311 in Tehran, 9465 in Razavi Khorasan, 6599 in Isfahan, 5702 in Mazandaran, 4478 in East Azerbaijan, 3558 in West Azerbaijan, 3468 in Alborz, 3343 in Hamedan, 3311 in Fars, 2763 in Kermanshah, 2251 in Kurdistan, 2154 in North Khorasan, 1948 in Kerman, 1801 in Yazd, 1630 in Hormozgan, 1448 in Ardabil, 1039 in Ilam, 962 in Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari, and 879 in Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmed. This is in addition to reports obtained from other provinces.
“The number of cities in red conditions have increased from 187 to 215. This week the number of people seeking medical treatment for Covid-19, those hospitalized, and the death toll escalated in comparison to the week before,” said the spokesperson for the regime’s Health Ministry on Sunday. “The average number of people hospitalized in each hospital has reached 15.8 people for every 100,000 and we continue to witness a rise in the number of people hospitalized. The highest number of people hospitalized are in the provinces of Qom, Lorestan, Ilam, Kurdistan, Yazd, Semnan and South Khorasan. Conditions in Qom and Lorestan are far more concerning than the others. The average death toll is reported at 23.5 for each million people. This is around three people per million more than last week. The highest Covid-19 death toll are reported from the provinces of Qom, Markazi, Ilam, West Azerbaijan, Alborz and East Azerbaijan. The provinces of Qom, Markazi and Ilam are far more concerning than other provinces,” she added, according the regime’s official IRNA news agency.
An Iranian regime court issued an inhuman ruling to separate a 2-year-old toddler from her Christian parents despite her “strong emotional bonds.” The little girl was subsequently separated from her parents and handed over to the Welfare Organization.
The 2-year-old toddler called Lydia was born Muslim but adopted by a Christian couple when she was only ten weeks old. The Revision Court of Bushehr ruled on September 23, 2020, that since the little girl was born Muslim she could not be adopted by a Christian couple.
The court ruling came despite the “strong emotional bonds” between the 2-year-old toddler and her Christian parents, Maryam Fallahi and Sam Khosravi.
Lydia suffers from heart and GI problems. She would face an uncertain future if sent to the orphanage of the Welfare Organization. It is unlikely that any other family would adopt her due to her illness.
Maryam Fallahi worked for years as a nurse in the Heart Hospital of Bushehr. The Welfare Organization’s observer and the Forensics Office confirmed that she had taken best care of Lydia over the past two years.