The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his recent tweet slammed Iran for using 'violence' and censorship to prevent memorials for those killed during the suppression of recent demonstrations. Pompeo's tweet came after the internet access was cut off in multiple Iranian provinces ahead of memorials planned on social media. Earlier, the US had also said that the Iranian authorities may have killed more than a thousand people in a crackdown on demonstrations which broke out on November 15 across Iran.
The Iranian people have the right to mourn 1,500 victims slaughtered by @khamenei_ir during #IranProtests. The regime fears its own citizens, and has once again resorted to violence and shutting down the internet.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 27, 2019
In Pompeo's tweet, he also cited a much higher death toll that has already been listed by multiple media outlets. According to Amnesty International at least 304 were reportedly killed and thousands injured, however, Tehran has dismissed the figures by rights groups and haven't published any official death toll. On Tuesday, Mike Pompeo also took to Twitter to criticise the arrest of the Bakhtiari family members who wanted to honour Pouya Bakhtiari who died in the month of November in Karaj during the demonstrations.
The U.S. strongly denounces the arrest of Pouya Bakhtiari’s parents, and calls for their immediate release. It’s time for the international community to stand together with the Iranian people and hold the regime accountable.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 24, 2019
Fueled by President of Iran Hassan Rouhani's announcement of slashing of fuel subsidies, thousands of Iranians took on streets in several cities. The removal of fuel subsidies also led to a 50 per cent hike in the gasoline prices, however, the authorities have mostly retaliated to the protests with tear gas and lie ammunition into crowds. Officials in Iran have yet to say how many people died in the ensuing violence that saw banks, petrol pumps and police stations set on fire, but London-based human rights group Amnesty International said that the crackdown has claimed the lives of 161 demonstrators.
In November, the Iranian security reportedly arrested eight people with links to the CIA amid the protests. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the widespread protests a "very dangerous conspiracy" and pinned the blame on the US as well as the West for propagating the protests in Iraq and Lebanon against the establishment.