Iran protests: 'At least 106 dead' in rallies over rising petrol prices

Lucia Binding, news reporter

At least 106 people have been killed during protests in Iran over government-set gasoline prices, according to Amnesty International.

The human rights group made the allegation in a report released on Tuesday, citing "credible reports".

Iranian officials have not made the death toll available since the unrest over a rise in prices began over the weekend.

Amnesty added that it believes "the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed".

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have warned of "decisive" action if protests in the country continue after a least 100 banks, buildings and cars were torched, according to state media.

Internet has since been shut down across the country in a bid to stop protesters from sharing information and videos online, while police and anti-riot forces were deployed to quell the unrest.

Meanwhile, hard-liners in Iran suggested that those who lead violent protests will be executed by hanging as the unrest continues.

Without elaborating, Keyhan newspaper wrote: "Some reports say that judiciary considers execution by hanging for the riot leaders a definite punishment."

The protests appeared to be ongoing in some areas of the country on Tuesday, though the streets of Tehran appeared mostly calm.

It remains unclear how many people have been arrested, injured or killed in the protests, which quickly spread across at least 100 cities and towns in Iran.

State media showed video footage of burned Kurans at one mosque in the suburbs of Tehran, as well as pro-government rallies.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement saying it was "deeply concerned" about reports of live ammunition being used against demonstrators and urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

The protests were prompted by a plunging economy and rising gasoline prices.

The issues represent yet another strain on the people of Iran - which has a population of around 80 million - who have endured a painful currency collapse following President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal of America from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, as well as the re-imposition of US sanctions.

Now, the Iranian rial trades at over 123,000 to $1, compared with 32,000 to $1 at the time the deal took effect.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has promised that fuel prices will be used to fund subsidies for low-income families; however, the decision has sparked widespread anger among Iranians.