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Elite armed forces unit: Iranian general admits 300 dead in protests for first time

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For the first time, an Iranian general has spoken of many fatalities in connection with the ongoing system-critical protests in the country. General Amir-Ali Hajjizadeh, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Aerospace Division (IRGC), spoke in a speech of at least 300 dead, according to a video posted by the Tabnak online portal on Tuesday. He also mentioned martyrs – meaning killed security forces and police officers. The Revolutionary Guards are the elite unit of the armed forces in Iran and are more important than the traditional military.

So far, human rights activists in particular have documented the number of fatalities. The US-based organization Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), for example, estimated at least 450 demonstrators dead as a result of the suppression of the protests, including 64 children. In addition, 60 security forces are said to have died.

Commander Hajizadeh once again blamed Iran’s enemies for the protests. In addition to the USA, he also named Germany and France. In the past few weeks, the military and politicians have already shifted the blame to other countries. Observers see this as an attempt to distract from the real causes of the protests.

The mass protests against the Islamic Republic system were triggered by the death of the Iranian Kurd Jina Mahsa Amini in mid-September. She died in police custody after being arrested for breaking Islamic dress codes.