Amnesty says that “the real death toll may be much higher with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed”. UN spokesman Rupert Colville said it had been “extremely difficult” to verify the overall death toll, due to a nationwide shutdown of the internet and tight media controls.
The Iranian government has acknowledged only five deaths, including four members of the security forces, and has blamed the protests on foreign enemies and saboteurs.
The protests, which have taken place in over 21 Iranian cities since last Friday, began following the regime’s decision to increase the price of petrol and ration consumption, supported by the President and Supreme Leader. Iranians have objected to the soaring inflation, corruption and waste of the regime during the protests. In recent days, protesters have ransacked and burned gas stations, banks and government buildings in major cities.
Security forces have used firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters, according to the Amnesty report, which also cited the use of live ammunition.
Amnesty said it had viewed verified video footage of riot police smashing windows of cars with drivers still inside. Hundreds of protesters had blocked roads with their cars.
Officials have sought to play down the scale of the protests, saying that key instigators of the violence have been identified and arrested. State media reported that at least 1,000 people have been detained.