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As the death toll of Iran’s protests rises, officials resort to their usual blame game

Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani (left) and his chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi (right)
Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani (left) and his chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi (right)

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, December 5, 2019—The brutal crackdown on Iran’s nationwide protests has caused a backlash against the ruling regime both at home and across the globe. In the wake of the anger and fury over the violence of Iranian security forces in slaughtering civilians in different cities, Iranian officials are now trying to borrow an old page from their playbook and lay the blame on others.

In the latest manifestation of this incrimination game, Mahmoud Vaezi, the chief of staff of Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani, demanded that all branches of the government declare casualty figures.

In order to minimize the role of the government in the killing of innocent protesters, Vaezi, who made remarks on Wednesday, said, “The information [about the number of dead] of recent unrests is not just for the government to report. All forces were involved in controlling [suppressing] these unrests. We will report when their information becomes complete.”

In response to why the government reported on the number of destroyed buildings but not the number of casualties, Vaezi again tried to refer reporters to other officials and institutions of the regime. “Ask this question in the conference of the judiciary spokesperson,” he said.

Worried about the crimes of the regime being exposed, Vaezi invited other factions of the regime to unity and said, “Our friends must understand the situation of the country. We are in special circumstances and are faced with foreign enemies.”

Vaezi also didn’t explain why internet connection in Sistan and Baluchistan province is still not restored and said that it is not related to the nationwide uprisings. In the days that followed the eruption of protests across more than 180 cities, the regime cut off access to internet across the country to hide the scale of the violence its security forces committed. 

It is worth noting that on Tuesday, Gholamhossein Esmaili, the spokesperson of the judiciary, described the disclosed figures of civilian casualties in the protests as “pure lies.”

Esmaili claimed that the real number is much lower, but didn’t present any figures on the number of people the regime has killed and injured.

He also claimed that he has no information about the remarks made by Leyla Vatheghi, the governor of Qods City (near Tehran), who explicitly admitted to have ordered the killing of civilians.

These remarks by regime officials come against the backdrop of various reports of brutal killings of innocent civilians by security forces. According to one report, in Mahshahr, southern Iran, the regime’s forces killed between 40 and 100 people in one attack using heavy machine guns.

In other cities the regime has used helicopters and armored vehicles and tanks to suppress the protests.

According to reports obtained by the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the regime has killed at least 1,000 people and injured 4,000 others. The Iranian resistance has gathered and published the names of 300 of the victims of the regime’s brutality in recent days. The regime has also arrested more than 12,000 people, the lives of whom are in severe danger.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), called on the United Nations Security Council to declare the regime’s leaders and key officials as criminals for the crimes they have committed against the Iranian people in the recent weeks.