Unnamed Sources Used to Drive Iran Death Toll Higher

'Officials' claim 1,500 killed, five times Amnesty's estimate

The two week crackdown in Iran over fuel prices continues to be a topic of discussion, even though the protests are long over, and unnamed sources and “officials” continue to crop up to try to give credence to ever-higher death tolls for what was a very brief blow-up and crackdown.

This week, the sources are coming in the form of unnamed members of the “inner circle,” described as officials in the Interior Ministry, who are saying that they believe around 1,500 people were killed, including as many as 17 teenagers.

Amnesty International is the only group that’s made any sort of effort to publicly document death tolls and show how they came by their estimates. Most recently, they were up to 304, and while they suggested it might be a bit higher, there’s no reason to have expected a five-fold increase.

On the other hand, President Trump made the claim of “thousands and thousands” killed, providing no indication where he got that number, and other administration officials have tried to echo the claim, with the State Department claiming they’d “seen reports” of over 1,000 killed. They didn’t say where they’d seen them, or whose reports they were, however.

With lobbies and groups both foreign and domestic wanting to vilify Iran, there would be no shortage of people willing to claim they are “inner circle” sources. Whether they are reliable is another matter, as they’d be only willing to provide evidence that would add to calls for regime change. This means any figures should be taken with a grain of salt unless they, like Amnesty, have a solid record of where they came by those numbers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.