US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, December 3rd, condemned Iran's crackdown on anti-government protesters, Reuters reported. He also urged the international community to take action in response to a rights groups statement that the death toll had soared.
The protests, which broke out in Iran on November 15th over petrol price hikes, soon morphed into political demonstrations, with people demanding the removal of the top figures of the Iranian regime.
The rallies have turned into the bloodiest anti-government protests in the country since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
On Monday, the London-based human rights group Amnesty International said that at least 208 people had been killed in the security crackdown. However, no official overall toll has yet been released by the Iranian authorities, according to AFP.
"Iran is killing perhaps thousands and thousands of people right now as we speak," Trump told reporters in London ahead of a Nato summit.
Banks and petrol stations were set ablaze and shops looted in the violence, which was quickly quashed by authorities who also imposed a week-long, near-total internet blackout.
"They cut off the internet so people can't see what's going on,” Trump said. "And frankly, I don't know how you get in there, I don't know how you do your business, but the press ought to get in there and see what's going on.”
Trump added: "Thousands of people are being killed in Iran that are protesting. For the mere fact that they're protesting."
"Not just small numbers, which are bad; big numbers, which are really bad, and really big numbers... It is a terrible thing and the world has to be watching."
Trump’s comments were made ahead of a Nato summit where world leaders were gathering to mark the alliance’s 70th anniversary.