Some 1,500 people were killed, most of them civilians, during a two-week period of violence last month, when residents of the Islamic Republic protested against the government in one of the largest public demonstrations since the country’s 1979 revolution, the Reuters news service reported Monday.
When the unrest broke out in the middle of last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei instructed the country’s security forces to do whatever was necessary to quell the protests, several senior Iranian officials told the outlet, on condition of anonymity.
“The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order,” Khamenei told his inner circle, one of the sources said.
Iran has yet to give overall figures for the number of people killed or arrested when security forces moved in to quell the unrest, which saw buildings torched and shops looted.
According to Reuters, approximately 1,500 people were killed, including at least 17 teenagers and some 400 women, in less than two weeks during the unrest. Some members of Iran’s security forces and police were reportedly among the dead.
That death toll is significantly higher than previous estimates. The United States State Department told the outlet that it believed that hundreds had been killed, though it had seen reports that approximately 1,000 people were dead. The most recent report by the Amnesty International organization estimated that at least 304 people had been killed.