The brutal response of the Iranian regime to protests that broke out in hundreds of cities across Iran in mid-November has shocked the world.
Starting as demonstrations against a steep increase in gas prices, the protests grew to include broader economic and political grievances against Iran’s leadership. The regime reacted by shutting down the Internet for days and violently attacking unarmed protesters, including with live ammunition.
At a press briefing, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook noted that while the true number of casualties are not known, it is possible that “the regime could have murdered over a thousand Iranian citizens since the protests began:”
“Many thousands of Iranians have been wounded, and at least 7000 protesters have been detained in Iran’s prisons. Many of these protesters have been sent to two prisons, the Great Tehran Penitentiary and Qarchak Prison.”
Prisoners in the Great Tehran Penitentiary, Special Representative Hook said, live in overcrowded conditions and have reportedly been subjected to abuse, arbitrary beatings, and rape. Qarchak Prison is Iran’s largest women’s prison and holds many members of religious minorities. Mr. Hook noted that Qarchak is also known for unbearable conditions and an environment that enables rape and murder.
“The United States calls for the immediate release of all protesters detained in prison, as well as all the political prisoners currently held by the regime.”
Special Representative Hook called the recent protests “the worst political crisis the regime has faced in its 40 years.”
"All of these protests are directed at a corrupt religious mafia that has been terrorizing its own people…The only support left for the regime is with a handful of clerics whom the Iranian people despise for having imposed 40 years of brutality on them. The regime now maintains its grip on power through brute force.”
“Now is the time for all nations to stand with the Iranian people, diplomatically isolate the regime, and sanction those officials who are responsible for murdering innocent Iranians,” said Special Representative Hook. “There has been overwhelming support for the Iranian people by the American people…We are unified here in the United States, and the international community likewise should be unified and support the Iranian people.”