Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that those who died in the widespread social unrest seen in the country recently are to be treated as “martyrs”, opening the way for their families to receive compensation from the state, AFP Tehran has reported.
Amnesty International said it had documented more than 200 deaths. US officials have claimed more than a thousand may have died in the trouble which lasted around a week from mid-November. Iranian officials have conceded that in some instances security forces opened fire on rioters with live ammunition.
The “gas riots”, as they are referred to by some Persian-language media, broke out after a sudden big petrol price hike and petrol rationing was announced by the government. Some protests clearly evolved into anti-regime demonstrations, but the extent of such protests and an accurate gauging of the death toll were hindered after national security officials opted to introduce a countrywide disconnection from the internet, preventing protesters from fanning the flames online.
The Supreme National Security Council has said that taking the option to compensate the families of those who died in the protests would help heal wounds in society.
The compensation plan is moving forward despite claims from Tehran that the unrest was very much orchestrated by Iran’s foes, including the US and Saudi Arabia, something those countries deny.
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