Iranian security forces have killed at least 326 people since nationwide protests began two months ago, the Norwegian-based Iranian human rights NGO (IHRNGO) has claimed.
That figure includes 43 children and 25 women, the group said in an update to its balance sheet on Saturday – saying its published number represented an “absolute minimum”.
CNN cannot independently verify the figure, as non-state media, the internet and protest movements in Iran have all been suppressed. The death toll varies according to opposition groups, international rights organizations and journalists following the ongoing protests.
Iran is facing one of its largest and most unprecedented displays of dissent following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman detained by vice squads allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly.
Public anger over his death has combined with a series of grievances against the oppressive Islamic Republic regime to fuel the protests, which continue despite lawmakers urging the country’s justice system to ‘show no leniency’ towards the protesters.
Despite the threat of arrests – and harsher penalties for those involved – Iranian celebrities and athletes have come forward in support of anti-government protests in recent weeks.
IHRNGO urged the international community to take “firm and timely action” in the face of the rising death toll and reiterated the need to establish a mechanism to “hold the authorities of the Islamic Republic accountable for their gross violations human rights“.
“The establishment of an international investigation and accountability mechanism by the United Nations will both facilitate the process of holding perpetrators accountable in the future and increase the cost of the Islamic Republic’s continued repression,” the official said. Director of IHRNGO, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
Since the start of the protests, deaths have been recorded in 22 provinces, according to IHRNGO. Most were reported in the provinces of Sistan and Balochistan, Tehran, Mazandaran, Kurdistan and Gilan.
Iranian authorities have also charged at least 1,000 people in Tehran province for their alleged involvement in the protests.
The rights group said dozens of protesters face “security-related charges” and face execution.
On Friday, United Nations experts urged the Iranian authorities “to stop charging people facing the death penalty for participating, or allegedly participating, in peaceful protests” and “to stop using the death penalty as a a tool to crush protests.”