Iranian security forces were ordered to "severely" and "mercilessly" crack down on protests against the government as they spread throughout the country last month, leaked documents cited by the human rights group Amnesty International have revealed.
According to the one of the documents, which were obtained by the group through unknown means, on 21 September the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces ordered commanders to "severely confront troublemakers and anti-revolutionaries", referring to protestors and those who oppose the Iranian 'Islamic' Revolution of 1979 and the existing government which came from that.
Some 34 people were killed the night the order was made, according to Amnesty International.
Another leaked document reportedly gave an even more direct order two days later, with the commander in the northern Mazandran province telling security forces to "confront mercilessly, going as far as causing deaths, any unrest by rioters and anti-Revolutionaries".
Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody two weeks ago, protests have erupted throughout Iran and have so far resulted in the killing of at least 52 people by security forces.
While the police claim Amini died from a heart attack, her family and protesters insist she was beaten to death by the police. The harsh crackdown by security forces have included the firing of live ammunition into crowds, beating protesters with batons, and reportedly groping female protesters who remove their headscarves.
Agnes Callamard, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, stated that "Iranian authorities knowingly decided to harm or kill people who took to the streets to express their anger at decades of repression and injustice."
She added: "Amid an epidemic of systemic impunity that has long prevailed in Iran, dozens of men, women and children have been unlawfully killed in the latest round of bloodshed."
Although the Iranian government and president have given their support to the security forces and told them to "decisively" confront the protests, the reported leaked documents would be the first proof of a direct order to use lethal force against the protesters.
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