Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued an order to “Do whatever it takes to stop them,” referring to the protests which gripped Iran for two months.
The order was issued in a meeting with Khamenei’s top security and government officials, according to a report published by Reuters.
That order was confirmed by three sources close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and a fourth official, set in motion the bloodiest crackdown on protesters since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The figures provided to Reuters, showed that about 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of protests. The death toll provided by three Iranian interior ministry officials, included at least 17 teenagers, about 400 women, as well as some members of the security forces and police.
Two of the Iranian officials who provided the figures clarified that the toll is based on information gathered from security forces, morgues, hospitals, and coroner’s offices, reported Reuters.
At the meeting, described to Reuters by the three sources, Khamenei discussed with senior officials, including security aides, President Hassan Rouhani and members of his cabinet, the situation in Iran, expressing criticism of handling the unrest.
The figures given to Reuters show the current incongruity over the death count, as US stated that Iranian government forces killed more than 1,000 protesters, while Amnesty International reported that at least 304 people have been killed in the protests, blaming the security forces of “massacring” the unarmed demonstrators.
The protests in Iran started on 15 November and spread to 21 cities within few hours, demanding the decrease in fuel price. Although it began as peaceful gatherings, it soon turned into violent riots against the government.