On Monday, the first official word on casualties in two months came from an Iranian general who revealed that more than 300 people had died in the disturbances surrounding the national rallies.
That figure is significantly lower than the death toll given by Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group based in the United States that has been closely monitoring the protests ever since they started on September 16 following the death of a young woman who was being held by the nation’s morality police.
Since the start of the turmoil, 451 protestors and 60 security personnel have died, according to the activist group, and more than 18,000 people have been arrested.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died after being jailed for breaking the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
Her detention served as the impetus for the protests.
They constitute one of the most significant threats to Iran’s governing clerics since the 1979 revolution that brought them to power.
They swiftly escalated into calls for the destruction of the theocracy.
According to a website affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace section, more than 300 individuals have died, including “martyrs,” a clear allusion to security personnel.
He further implied that many of those killed were regular Iranian citizens who weren’t participating in the protests.
He did not give a precise amount or indicate where his estimate came from.
The media’s access to the protests has been severely restricted by the authorities.
State-affiliated media have generally concentrated on attacks on security personnel rather than providing an overall death toll, which officials attribute to unidentified terrorist and separatist organizations.
Without offering any proof, Hajizadeh reaffirmed the official line that Saudi Arabia and other Western nations instigated the protests, two of Iran’s adversaries.
After decades of social and political repression, the demonstrators claim they are fed up and refute any foreign purpose.