Iran is using unlawful and excessive force in a crackdown against protests over water shortages in southwestern Khuzestan province, international rights groups said on Friday.
Amnesty International said it was able to confirm the deaths of at least eight protesters and bystanders, including a teenage boy, as the authorities used extensive force to end the demonstrations.
Amnesty said the teenage boy, Hadi Bahmani, was killed in the town of Izeh.
“Iran’s security forces have deployed unlawful force, including by firing live ammunition and birdshot, to crush mostly peaceful protests,” the rights group said.
Analysis of video footage from the protests and eyewitness accounts “indicate security forces used deadly automatic weapons, shotguns with inherently indiscriminate ammunition, and tear gas,” it added.
In a separate statement, Human Rights Watch said that Iranian authorities appeared to have “used excessive force against demonstrators” and the government should “transparently investigate” the reported deaths.
“Iranian authorities have a very troubling record of responding with bullets to protesters frustrated with mounting economic difficulties and deteriorating living conditions,” said HRW’s Iran researcher Tara Sepehri Far.