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Unforgivable Crimes in Iran: The Under-Reporting of Deaths

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As the world's eyes and ears have turned elsewhere, the crimes of the Iranian government continues unabated. To this day, the true number of those killed, murdered and/or raped in the post-election crackdowns remains unknown.

While the government itself claims that no more than 30 people have died, the opposition puts the figure above 100. Both figures are likely gross underestimations of the true number.

The reason for the large under-reported number is due to the threats the families of the victims face. Many Iranian Americans have family and friends killed in the violence, and their names appear on no lists. A friend of my own family had their 16 year-old daughter shot on the streets during the first day of the protests.

Her family has not reported her death due to pressure from the pro-Ahmadinejad authorities. The fear is that if they do go public with their story, the authorities will punish their sole remaining child. He is a college student and though he wasn't involved in the protests, the authorities have made it clear that he is a target if the family reports the death of their daughter.

These threats are not empty. The authorities have begun targeting the children of leaders of the opposition. For instance, Atefeh Emam, the daughter of Javad Emam, the Chief of Staff of Mousavi's campaign, has been imprisoned and is being pressured to make a "confession" in order to implicate her father. At the same time, according to her mother, Leyla Saadaat Jalalzadeh, they are torturing Atefeh to press her father to implicate others in the Moussavi's circle. Atefeh's mother pleads for help in an interview with Kalame newspaper.

In other news, the war of words between the opposition and the Ahmadinejad government has intensified further, with former President Khatami referring to the Ahmadinejad click as fascists.