Iranian security forces have killed at least 326 people since nationwide protests erupted two months ago, Norway-based Iranian Human Rights NGO (IHRNGO) claimed.
That number includes 43 children and 25 women, the group said in an update of its death toll on Saturday – and said its published number represented an “absolute minimum”.
CNN cannot independently verify the number due to the suppression of non-state media, the internet and protest movements in Iran. The death toll varies depending on the opposition groups, international human rights organizations and journalists following the ongoing protests.
Iran faces one of its largest and most unprecedented demonstrations of dissent following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who was allegedly arrested for improperly wearing her hijab.
Public anger over her death has combined with a spate of complaints against the Islamic Republic’s repressive regime to fuel the demonstrations, which continue despite lawmakers urging the country’s judiciary to “show no leniency” to the protesters.
Despite threats of arrest — and stiffer penalties for those involved — Iranian celebrities and athletes have rallied to support the anti-government protests in recent weeks.
The IHRNGO has called on the international community to take “firm and timely action” against the rising death toll and reiterated the need to put in place a mechanism to “hold the authorities of the Islamic Republic to account for their gross human rights abuses”.
“The establishment of an international investigation and accountability mechanism by the UN will both facilitate the process of bringing perpetrators to account in the future and increase the costs of the Islamic Republic’s continued repression,” said IHRNGO Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
According to IHRNGO, deaths have been recorded in 22 provinces since the protests began. Most were reported from the provinces of Sistan and Balochistan, Tehran, Mazandaran, Kurdistan and Gilan.
Iranian authorities have also charged at least 1,000 people in Tehran province for their alleged involvement in the protests.
The rights group said dozens of protesters face “security-related charges” and face execution.
On Friday, United Nations experts urged the Iranian authorities to “stop charging people with the death penalty for participating or allegedly participating in peaceful demonstrations” and “to stop using the death penalty as a means of cracking down on protests.”