BRUSSELS -- European lawmakers have passed a resolution denouncing the "widespread and disproportionate" use of force by Iranian security forces against nonviolent protesters.
The nonbinding resolution adopted on December 19 demands that all protesters, human rights defenders, and journalists currently held behind bars "for exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression and assembly" be released unconditionally.
Iran is facing international condemnation for its crackdown on the protests that rocked more than 100 towns and cities across the country last month.
Amnesty International says at least 304 people were killed during several days of protest rallies, which were triggered by gasoline-price hikes and a rationing plan. Thousands of demonstrators have also been arrested.
Iranian officials have dismissed Amnesty's death toll figures as "lies."
The European Parliament called on the authorities to conduct a “prompt, impartial, independent, and transparent" investigation into "allegations of excessive use of force, including direct targeting of protesters by security forces," and to bring all perpetrators to justice.
It urged authorities to disclose the total number of deaths and detainees, and called on the UN’s Human Rights Council to launch "without delay a comprehensive investigation" into the violence.