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Iranian Lawmaker Says 230 People Were Killed In November Unrest

A gas station near Tehran set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration in November against a rise in gasoline prices.

A senior Iranian lawmaker said on June 1 that 230 people were killed in anti-government protests in Iran in November, state news agency IRNA reported.

It is the first time that an Iranian lawmaker has given a death toll in the unrest, which was sparked by an increase in the price of petrol. The four days of unrest was the most widespread and violent Iran had seen since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Mojtaba Zolnour, head of the parliament's national security and foreign affairs committee, said 230 people were killed, about one-fifth of whom were members of the security forces.

He said about one-quarter of those killed were passersby not involved in the protests, some of whom were shot in the head or chest from close distances.

The lawmaker insisted that the security forces were too far away from the protesters to have done this. He also said a high percentage was killed by bullets that are not used in Iranian standard-issue weapons.

Of the remainder, 16 percent died while attacking military bases and police stations, and 31 percent at public places such as malls, banks, and petrol stations.

About 2,000 people were injured during the four days of unrest.

The demonstrations erupted on November 15 in a handful of cities before spreading to at least 100 urban centers across Iran.

Petrol pumps were torched, police stations attacked, and shops looted, before security forces stepped in.

Officials had previously rejected death tolls given by foreign media and human rights groups as "lies" and passed responsibility of reporting on it between different state bodies.

Amnesty International has put the number of dead at 304, and a group of independent UN rights experts said in December that 400, including at least 12 children, could have been killed based on unconfirmed reports.

The United States has claimed that more than 1,000 were killed.

Zolnour alleged that those behind the violence had aimed to use the unrest to "overthrow" the system.

Tehran has yet to release any official statistics about the scale of the unrest, though two weeks ago the government acknowledged that the security forces shot and killed protesters.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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