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Iran's interior minister downsizes the massacre of November 2019 uprising protests

Iranian regime Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli
Iranian regime Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, June 01, 2020—Several months after the November 2019 uprising that swept across the country and to at least 140 cities, the regime’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli acknowledged that his forces had killed over 200 protesters during the protests. His remarks were made in a state TV interview on Saturday, May 30, in a desperate attempt to downsize the actual number of innocent civilians killed by the regime’s forces.Fazli also preposterously claimed that 20 percent of the victims had been killed by non-standard weapons, insinuating that the regime’s opponents murdered them.

“They (enemy) announced that 10,000 people were killed, 8,000 were killed, 7,000, 6,000. They even mentioned 2,000. God willing, we will announce the figures in the next few days,” the mullahs’ Interior Minister said. “The fatalities are not in these ranges at all. I want to say that 20 percent of the toll, somewhere between 40 and 45 of the victims have been registered as martyrs. They were innocent and happened to be in streets and were killed by such weapons and such tactics that none of which are deployed by the State Security Force or other government agencies.”

Rahmani-Fazli also acknowledged the accusation that he was responsible for shutting down the internet as the November protests shook the very pillars of the regime. “They say that Rahmani shut down the Internet during those nights.  Of course, I did because they provided training and commanded the field via the Internet… The reason they are upset is that they wanted to initiate a civil war. For several months then, we, as the country’s security officials, had been surveilling them … The price of gasoline provided an opportunity for this to flare up … If there was a broad dimension and social context, it would have been much bigger than this… They wanted to disrupt the country and cause insecurity, turn this to another Syria… Maintaining security is important for all of us, and is the basis of all activities.”

As reported by Etemad daily on December 17, 2019, Rahmani Fazli is the same regime official who, when confronted last December by a Majlis (parliament) deputy saying, “Two people in my constituency were shot in their heads. Was it not possible to shoot at them, at least in their lower parts of the body,” he brazenly replied, “Well, shots were also fired at their feet!”

The Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) first announced on December 16, 2019, that the number of protesters killed during the November 2019 uprising exceeded the 1,500 mark. The MEK published the names of 765 of these killed civilians. A week later on December 23, Reuters quoted three Iranian Interior Ministry officials saying, “About 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on November 15.” Reuters highlighted: “The figures provided to Reuters, said two of the Iranian officials who provided them, are based on information gathered from security forces, morgues, hospitals, and coroner’s offices.”

Rahmani-Fazli’s remarks on Saturday night that the number of protesters killed during the 2019 November uprising will be announced in the coming days are the continuation of a scandalous process of the regime’s officials placing the blame on others. This reflects their growing concern of the consequences of the massacre and crimes against humanity committed during the November uprising.

On February 15, Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani, in response to a question about the number of people killed during the November protests, said that the figures were available to the country’s Coroner’s office and can be announced.

Subsequently, head of the regime’s Coroners Office Organization said that according to a decision by the mullahs’ Supreme National Security Council, it is upon the government to publish these figures.

Five days later, government spokesperson Ali Rabeie said on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, “What the president said was based on the fact that the coroner’s office is the authority in charge of announcing the cause of death and issuing death certificates… The Coroner’s office has announced (the number of those killed) in a letter.”

The Iranian opposition NCRI has consistently emphasized that the November 2019 massacre was a crime against humanity and that the regime’s leaders and officials must be prosecuted and held accountable by an international tribunal.