DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Days of protests in Iran over rising fuel prices and a subsequent government crackdown have killed at least 106 people across the Islamic Republic, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing “credible reports.”
Iran’s government, which has not made nationwide numbers available for the toll of the unrest that began Friday, did not immediately respond to the report. A request for comment to its mission at the United Nations was not immediately acknowledged.
The Amnesty report comes after a U.N. agency earlier said it feared the unrest may have killed “a significant number of people.” Amnesty added that it “believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.”
Iranian authorities have not offered a definitive account of how many people have been arrested, injured or killed in the protests that spread quickly across at least 100 cities and towns. Authorities shut down internet access to the outside world Saturday, an outage that persisted Monday in the nation of 80 million.
That has left only state media and government officials to tell their story. State television showed video Tuesday of burned Qurans at a mosque in the suburbs of the capital, Tehran, as well as pro-government rallies, part of its efforts to both demonize and minimize the protests.
Absent in the coverage, though, was an acknowledgement of what sparked the demonstrations in the first place. The jump in gasoline prices represents yet another burden on Iranians who have suffered through a painful currency collapse, following President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of the United States from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and the re-imposition of crippling U.S. economic sanctions.
Relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani has promised that the fuel price increase will be used to fund new subsidies for poor families. But the decision has unleashed widespread anger among Iranians, like Maryam Kazemi, a 29-year-old accountant in the southern Tehran suburb of Khaniabad, who said the new cost of fuel was “putting pressure on ordinary people.”
“It was a bad decision at a bad time. The economic situation has long been difficult for people, and Rouhani unexpectedly implemented the decision on fuel,” she said.
Amnesty said it gathered its figures from interviewing journalists and human rights activists, then cross-checked the information. In its breakdown, it showed the hardest-hit areas as the western Kermanshah province and its oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan. Many online videos released before the internet outage showed unrest there.
“Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons,” Amnesty said. “Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.”
Amnesty, citing eyewitnesses corroborated by video footage, said snipers also shot into crowds of people from rooftops and, in one case, a helicopter.
So far, scattered reports in state-run and semiofficial media have reported only six deaths.
The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” about reports of live ammunition being used against demonstrators. It also urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.