UN Claims Iran Was Shooting to Kill Protesters

Allegations based on video evidence from undisclosed sources

The UN Human Rights Office has issued a statement claiming that during the crackdown on Iran’s brief gas price protests, security forces were “shooting to kill” the protesters.

The conclusion came from UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, who said it was the result of video footage. Who provided the video footage is unclear, but she said it showed security forces shooting at people from roofs and a helicopter.

Putting aside the motivation of whoever provided the footage to make Iran look bad, Bachelet said it would amount to “clear violations of international norms and standards on the use of force, and serious violations of human rights.”

And yet this could scarcely be called outside of international norms in any credible way. Israel routinely “shoots to kill” protesters in the Gaza Strip, and has active sniper teams along the Gaza frontier waiting for protests virtually every week.

Egypt’s military junta also used live ammunition to kill large numbers of protesters in the wake of their coup against the country’s last democratically elected government, and Iraq’s government has and is continuing to kill protesters.

The pattern here is not that Iran’s violence against protesters was outside of the norm for the region, but rather that many in the international community want to portray Iran’s behavior as uniquely egregious, even if they are doing what other nations know they can get away with at any time.

This amounts to the continuation of an attempt to build up anti-Iran rhetoric, which also saw the State Department claiming a no-casualty rocket strike on a US military base in Iraq could conceivably have been Iran’s doing. Officials conceded they had no evidence Iran did anything, but that they believe there is a “good chance” Iran is behind it because the US believes Iran is “more aggressive.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.