GENEVA/TEHERAN/WASHINGTON DC (REUTERS) - More than 100 protesters have been killed by Iranian security forces since people took to the streets to protest against fuel price hikes.
That's according to the human rights group Amnesty International, which warned that some reports suggest it could be as many as 200 dead in 21 cities across Iran.
Protests like this one have sprung up across the country after a hike in the cost of gasoline.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed the turmoil on Iran's foreign enemies, including the US, and denounced protesters as "thugs".
The United Nations on Tuesday (Nov 19) voiced concern at Iranian security forces' use of live ammunition against demonstrators and urged the authorities to rein in its use of force.
"Simply responding with harsh words and an iron fist raises a significant risk not only of violating international norms and standards, but also of seriously aggravating the situation to everyone's disadvantage, including the government's," said United Nations Human Rights Agency (OHCHR) spokesman Rupert Colville.
Amnesty pointed to eyewitness reports that security forces have been taking away dead bodies and injured people from roads and hospitals, and have refused to return the bodies of many of the victims to their family.
Getting information out of the Islamic republic is proving hard with the Internet nearly all but shut down.
Access has been cut off since Saturday as protests spread.
The US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said it was providing circumvention tools.
"We are also trying to put in place workarounds to help the people work around the Iranian regime shutting down the Internet," said Hook. "And we think that is going to help some people connect to the Internet so they can continue getting out their videos."
Since the US reimposed sanctions on Iran, many are struggling with the combination of a sharp fall in the value of the Iranian rial and the spiralling cost of bread, rice and other staples.
And with the cost of oil now up as well, Iranians feel their only recourse is to take their frustration to the streets.