US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iranians on Thursday to send photos and other information documenting repression amid ongoing protests, while vowing to sanction “abuses” by the Islamic republic.
Demonstrations erupted in sanctions-hit Iran last Friday, hours after the price of gasoline spiked by as much as 200 percent. Unrest spread to scores of urban centers, during which protesters attacked police stations, torched petrol pumps and looted shops.
“I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos and information documenting the regime’s crackdown on protestors,” Pompeo tweeted.
“The US will expose and sanction the abuses,” he added.
A near-total internet shutdown has made obtaining information on bloodshed difficult. Officials have confirmed five deaths, but Amnesty International has said the real death toll could be well over 100.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Basij militia said the unrest sparked by fuel price hikes amounted to a “world war” against Tehran that was thwarted, pointing the finger of blame at Washington, Riyadh and Israel.
The United Nations human rights office, for its part, has said it was alarmed by reports that live ammunition used by security forces to quell the unrest had caused a “significant number of deaths”.
Internet remained mostly blocked in Iran yesterday for a sixth day, with officials and news agencies saying the blackout was gradually being rolled back.