Justice for Iran: Following the deadly crackdowns in Iran since 15 November, Justice for Iran has made a submission to the EU Council requesting that the EU take immediate steps and impose restrictive measures against Iran’s Police forces, as well as the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, two main state institutions directly responsible for the deadly suppression of the ongoing nation-wide protests across the country.
Based on the video evidence verified by Justice for Iran, in at least 15 cities, towns and districts armed police forces have used live ammunition against civilian protesters. In many videos snipers can be seen shooting at protestors from the rooftops of governmental buildings and headquarters, which has resulted in the death of many protesters.
According to unofficial reports, in less than 3 days a couple of hundreds of protesters have been killed and several thousands injured by Iranian police and security forces. Confirming these numbers is difficult due to near total shutdown of internet connections inside Iran.
State officials have confirmed the arrest of close to a thousand citizens, but the eyewitnesses claim that the scale and intensity of the arrests are much higher.
The nationwide protests began following the 300% rise of petrol price in Iran at midnight on Thursday 14 November 2019. The spontaneous protests have spread to at least 100 cities according to IRGC affiliated news agency Farsnews. The peaceful protests were immediately responded to with brutal crackdowns and excessive use of force by Police and security forces.
On 17 November, the Chief Commander of the Police forces (NAJA), Hossein Ashtari, confirmed the role of the forces in suppression of the protests, stating “During recent days with my colleagues efforts we have identified a number of saboteurs and opportunists, who have been dealt with as required’. The scope and level of violence against the protesters has been viewed as unprecedented, even compared to the brutal crackdown on the nationwide protests of late December 2017-early 2018.
Mohammad Nayyeri, Justice for Iran’s legal advisor, notes: “The Islamic Republic would not have been able to carry such scale and forms of violent oppression, if the international community had held Iran accountable for its extensive killing, arrest and torture of protesters during the 2017-18 unrests.”
Two weeks ago, during the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations, Australia was the only member state that asked Iran to address this issue and “immediately investigate all allegations involving the torture and other ill treatment of those arrested or detained during the demonstrations in December 2017 and hold those responsible to account.”
Up until 2013, the EU Council had added 82 individuals, and one institution (FATA Police) to the sanctions list, due to their role in gross human rights violations. The situation regarding human rights has deteriorated further under the Rouhani administration, yet the EU has refrained from adding new individuals and institutions to the list of human rights sanctions.
It is highly disturbing that the observed tactics, scale and patterns of deadly suppression used by state security forces in Iran sharply mirror the methods used by the Iran-sponsored armed groups involved in the violent crackdown on ongoing protests in Iraq.
Justice for Iran, calls on the international community to take immediate and effective action, compelling Iranian authorities to end this bloodshed and hold all perpetrators accountable for gross violation of protesters’ human rights.