Providing evidence that the death toll from Iranian pro-democracy demonstrations is much higher than the 7 officially reported, the NIAC blog quotes this report from the Association of Human Rights Activists in Iran, which it describes as a “trusted” source:
Source: Human Rights Activists in Iran [Farsi: Majmu‘e-ye fa‘âlân-e hoquq-e bashar dar irân]
Numbers of dead in recent violence in Iran reach 32
Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 11:29
The Association of Human Rights Activists in Iran can confirm the deaths of 32 Iranian citizens connected to the events of June 14 and June 15, based on its own fieldwork and despite numerous other reports.
Most of these citizens lost their lives in the attack on Tehran University dormitories on June 14 and the opening of fire by the paramilitary Basij forces on June 15. The violence started after Iranian citizens protested against the results of the tenth presidential elections, and the interference of security and paramilitary forces connected to the government.
In a statement, the public relations office of The Office to Consolidate Unity [Iran’s biggest student organization] yesterday reported the killing of at least seven students during the attack on dormitories of Tehran University and other universities around the country (Amnesty International said on June 15 there had been five deaths).
According to numerous and confirmed reports, the morgue at the Rasul Akram Hospital in Tehran has also stored eight people, who lost their lives during the shooting at defenseless people on Monday June 15.
In addition, Azerbaijani human rights activists have reported the killing of two citizens of Orumiyeh during fights in that city on June 15.
Finally, sources among the doctors at Erfan Hospital (which contains ICU, CCU, NICU and 14 emergency operation rooms) in Western Tehran reported that 15 people were dead in the hospital, all connected to the shooting on June 15.
Reports of civilian deaths across the country received by the Association are very high. However, it is impossible to confirm these because of the highly militarized atmosphere and widespread arrests, so the Association can only vouch for the deaths detailed above but
will continue the process of documentation and reporting.
The N.Y. Times and other sources continue to describe a very fluid situation within Iran with each side jockeying for position and no one yet having the upper hand or taking decisive action. I’ve read several respected sources who claim it’s only a matter of time before “the tanks” are unleashed and the revanchists retake social control.
Several nationally respected journalists have been arrested. Yesterday there was a report that several high ranking political figures, including one who served in a senior role in Iranian intelligence in the past have been arrested. One Iranian prosecutor has threatened execution for anyone found guilty of destroying property and being in cahoots with foreign interests. The regime seems especially intent on suppressing all foreign coverage of the daily rallies by pro-democracy forces. Journalists have been entirely confined to their offices though this has merely forced them to rely on Iranian non-journalists to funnel information, images and video to them.
It would seem that this regime is especially sensitive to how it might be perceived outside Iran. Knowing this provides the opposition with an opening to exploit the government’s weakness. Every bloodied body shown outside Iran helps democratic forces within Iran.
There may come a point when the authorities go for broke and decide they have to risk everything to regain control. Then, there may be no leverage and no conscience remaining and all hell could break loose. Let’s hope that day does not come.
Can we insist that major media stop referring to Ahmadinejad’s election “victory?” This phrasing annoys the hell out of me. He won nothing. It is just as easy to to use terms like “claimed” or “alleged” to distinguish this election from a legitimate one.
Reader Alex Stein yesterday pointed to a BBC story which suggested the election results might be valid. Today’s N.Y. Times provides electoral maps noting tremendous discrepancies between past and current voting patterns. In addition, a sitting president who presided over massive inflation and economic displacement, a repressive and unpopular regime stifling human rights, and who regularly made a mockery of himself and his country with his pronouncements about the Holocaust, homosexuality (there are no gays in Iran)–this guy allegedly received 8 million MORE votes than the first time he ran. It simply beggars belief.
Among the items mentioned in the Times’ electoral map section is that in the 2005 election an Azeri candidate (where Moussavi hails from) finished last in the national voting but swept the Azeri provinces. This time, Moussavi won only 42% of his home province. In 2005, Mehdi Karroubi won 55% of the vote in his native province. This election he won 5%. Ahmadinejad’s percentage increased from 9% in 2005 to 71% this election. The claim of a free and fair election is incredible.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.