US State Dept. Says Over 1,000 Iranians May Have Been Killed Since Start Of Protests

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 06th December, 2019) The United States estimates that Iranian security forces may have killed over a thousand people in crackdown on mass protests throughout the country, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters on Thursday.

"We know for certain its many, many hundreds, perhaps, over a thousand," Hook said during a briefing. "That was a brutal crackdown."

He said the State Department relied in its count on "crowdsourcing intelligence" and reports from unspecified local groups that had been publishing the death toll.

"As the regime has slowly restored the internet, we have more videos and more information leaking from the country," Hook said. "As more information comes in we will continue to update you on the numbers. But that's what we have now."

Iran has been experiencing widespread protests since mid-November, which began over a sharp hike in fuel prices. The unrest led Iranian authorities to temporarily shut down the country's Internet. Human rights group Amnesty International placed the death toll at 208 on Monday.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian leaders have blamed the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia for financially supporting and training protesters.