Unrest toll claims by hostile groups: Iran rejects 'lies'
Tehran: Iran on Tuesday rejected as "utter lies" unofficial casualty figures given for street violence that erupted last month during demonstrations against a shock decision to hike fuel prices.
US President Donald Trump, speaking in London, told reporters that "the word is that thousands of people are being killed in Iran that are protesting," without providing details. "That's why they cut off the internet. They cut off the internet so people can't see what's going on," he said ahead of a NATO summit.
Iran's economy has been battered since last year when Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear agreement and reimposed crippling sanctions.
The days of unrest in Iran from November 15 saw protesters attack police stations, loot shops and torch banks and petrol stations as authorities imposed a week-long internet blackout. Videos that have surfaced since purport to show scenes from the crackdown that followed, including footage of security forces firing at unarmed demonstrators or beating them with batons.
The United States, France and Germany have all condemned Iran over the bloodshed, which human rights group Amnesty International estimates claimed more than 200 lives. Tehran has not yet given any overall death toll, but on Tuesday strongly rejected such reports and figures as enemy "propaganda".
Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said: "I explicitly announce that the numbers and figures that are being given by hostile groups are utter lies and the statistics have serious differences with what they announced.
"They announced some numbers as well as some names... Their claimed numbers are sheer lies and fabricated," he said in remarks aired on state television.