The Trump administration has issued an assessment of the recent unrest in Iran which had raged for a couple weeks after protests in some 100 cities were triggered by a sudden fuel price hike on Nov. 15 when government subsidies were slashed. Though international reports and human rights monitoring groups have consistently cited a little over 200 killed (with the UN and Amnesty saying 208 or more), US figures are multiple times higher.
In a Thursday press briefing, the State Department said it has counted a whopping 1,000 protesters killed by Iranian security forces. Partly using local video as evidence, spokesman Brian Hook said, "As the truth is trickling out of Iran, it appears the regime could have murdered over 1,000 Iranian citizens since the protests began."
He said the White House will urge Congress to impose further harsh sanctions on officials overseeing security forces, especially the IRGC-connected Basij paramilitary force, thought responsible for "mowing down" demonstrators.
Hook also charged the regime with killing "at least a dozen children" and wounding many thousands in a crackdown involving torture among some of the over 7,000 arrested.
Though there's widespread acknowledgement, even among some Iranian official sources, that the security crackdown has been harsh and in some instances involved 'live fire,' the US administration's figure appears inflated for political purposes, as even The Washington Post acknowledges:
The State Department's casualty numbers are much larger than estimates provided so far by independent groups. Amnesty International, for example, has confirmed about 200 deaths, though it said the number was likely to be much higher.
While showing a sample video of police attacking protesters — one among the 32,000 videos and photos reportedly sent in after Pompeo's earlier public call for 'crackdown' footage — Hook described, "The IRGC tracked them down and surrounded them with machine guns mounted on trucks".
"It appears the regime could have murdered over 1000 Iranian citizens since the protests began."— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) December 5, 2019
Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, says "hundreds more" Iranian protesters have been killed than originally thought, including at least a dozen children pic.twitter.com/cGocA6QA4j
"Between the rounds of machine gun fire, the screams of the victims can be heard," he said further of one dramatic scene. "In this one incident alone, the regime murdered as many as 100 Iranians and possibly more. When it was over, the regime loaded the bodies into trucks."
And in emotionally jarring claims which resemble Washington talking points within the first years of proxy war in Syria (which were clearly geared toward regime change), the Post reports further:
Hook said that when families tried to recover the bodies, the IRGC demanded they pay the cost of the ammunition and extracted their promise not to hold public funerals.
Evidence for this and some of the other dramatic and harrowing details of torture and human rights abuses were not forthcoming, however, in what appears to be an active US policy of continued 'overthrow the regime' efforts targeting Tehran.
But the United Nations Human Rights commission did issue a special report on Friday which alleges Iranian security forces were “shooting to kill” in their deadly crackdown, which also primarily cited local video as evidence. Again the UN's casualty count was just over 200 — some 800 less than the now official administration figures.
Meanwhile, Iranian leaders have claimed (also without evidence) that hostile external powers like the CIA and Israel's Mossad have hijacked protests by sending "thugs" to initiate mayhem, resulting in the burning of hundreds of banks, gas stations, and security bases.