Published: Sat, December 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Nations rights chief says Iranian regime using ‘severe violence’ against protesters

United Nations rights chief says Iranian regime using ‘severe violence’ against protesters

There are nearly certainly more, but the exact number is not publicly known, in part because their families have been reluctant to publicize the cases for fear of angering Iranian authorities.

The damning account came as the USA put new pressure on its arch-enemy by not ruling out sending more forces to the region.

"This is the worst political crisis the regime has faced in its 40 years", he told reporters at the U.S. State Department on Wednesday.

Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook cited unspecified reports and provided no evidence of the death toll.

In a statement, the United Nations human rights office also said it had obtained "verified video footage" showing security forces firing on protesters, apparently with intent to kill.

As Hook demanded further diplomatic isolation of Iran, a senior Pentagon official did not rule out sending more forces to the region.

The rights office added that it had "information suggesting that at least 208 people were killed" during the unrest, supporting a toll previously given by Amnesty International.

At least five other Americans are known to be imprisoned or missing in Iran.

Iran has yet to give overall figures for the number of people killed or arrested when security forces moved in to quell the unrest that saw buildings torched and shops looted.

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Hook said the U.S. was basing its toll in part on photos and videos sent by 32,000 people after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo invited Iranians to defy internet restrictions.

Some of those videos show the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps forces (IRGC) shooting demonstrators with bullets from machine guns, and then loading the bodies onto trucks.

Hua Qu, Wang's wife, also said he has been released from the Evin prison in Iran.

"In such circumstances, with so many reported deaths, it is essential the authorities act with far greater transparency", Bachelet said according to the statement.

Tensions have been high between Iran and the USA since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018.

Hook said that a United States warship on November 25 seized a major shipment of Iranian-made weapons bound for Yemen's Huthi rebels including anti-tank and air-defense missiles.

Ambassadors from Britain, Germany and France, which still back the deal, said Iran's missile program is capable of delivering nuclear bombs in a letter to the UN Security Council.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said earlier the prisoner swap was imminent.

Iranians across ideological lines have also widely criticized Trump for imposing a ban on most Iranians from traveling to the United States.

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