Iran leader calls for ‘Islamic mercy’ after bloody crackdown

The Iranian security forces have deliberately shot dead large numbers of unarmed protesters

The Iranian security forces have deliberately shot dead large numbers of unarmed protesters

A report by Iranian state television sought to portray those killed as "rioters" or foreign-backed insurgents who threatened military posts, oil tanks and the public.

She said security personnel had also been visiting hospitals, looking for patients with gunshot wounds or other injuries from the unrest and immediately detained those with suspicious wounds.

However, online videos of demonstrations purport to show security forces firing machine guns and rifles at crowds. On Monday, Amnesty global estimated the death toll of the regime's violent crackdown in the hundreds.

Officials have put the death toll much lower.

President Donald Trump clarified his administration's position on protestors in Iran after an answer he gave to a reporter left many with the impression that he didn't support their efforts.

Iranians have seen their savings chewed away by the rial's collapse from 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear accord to 127,000 to $1 today under the renewed US sanctions.

In October Japan said it planned to send a naval force to Middle East waters to guard ships supplying Japan, but declined to join any USA coalition to protect merchant vessels. That decision has seen Iran begin to break limits of the deal, as well as a series of attacks across the Mideast that America has blamed on Tehran.

In another case, the report said security forces confronted a separatist group in the city of Mahshahr armed with "semi-heavy" weapons.

"We've seen over 200 people killed in a very swift time, in under a week", said Mansoureh Mills, an Iran researcher at Amnesty.

Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, a member of parliament's national security committee, said last week that about 7,000 people were arrested during the unrest.

It claimed the armed rioters, from an oil-rich area whose mainly Arab population frequently complain of discrimination by the central government, fought with security personnel for hours.

Separately, a detainee shot and killed a police officer in the province Tuesday, state TV said, without elaborating.

IRTV2's report also mentioned that security forces had confronted rioters in Tehran and the suburb of Shahriar, and in the southern cities of Shiraz and Sirjan. It described the suburb as likely one of the areas with the highest toll of those killed in the unrest.

Amnesty offered no breakdown for the deaths elsewhere in the country, though it said "the real figure is likely to be higher".

Iran's judiciary spokesman on Tuesday rejected the death toll given by "hostile groups" as "sheer lies", the TV reported.

"Not just small numbers which are bad, big numbers which are really bad, and really big numbers ..." A United Nations agency also has said it fears the unrest may have killed "a significant number of people".

According to the outspoken reformist lawmaker Mahmoud Sadeghi security and intelligence bodies have even arrested some university students who had not been present in the protests as a "preventative measure" ahead of the December 15 Student Day rallies.

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