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DUBAI (Reuters) – Around 50 policemen have been killed in protests that have rocked Iran since September, the deputy foreign minister said on Thursday, giving the first official death toll amid an intensifying crackdown in Kurdish areas. in the last days.

Iranian security forces have clashed with protesters across the country, and the UN rights commission said more than 300 protesters had died since the death in custody of Kurdish Mahsa Amini, 22, on 16 September.

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said on Thursday that Iran faced a “full-fledged human rights crisis”, with 14,000 people arrested so far, including children. He was speaking ahead of a special session in Geneva with a possible vote on creating a fact-finding mission.

“About 50 policemen were killed during the protests and hundreds were injured,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who is also Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, said in an interview with Indian television.

He gave no figures on the number of protesters killed, but said the Interior Ministry had formed a panel to investigate the deaths.

Protests sparked by Amini’s death after she was detained by morality police for attire deemed inappropriate under Iran’s strict Islamic dress code quickly spread across the country. The demand focused on women’s rights, but protesters also called for the ouster of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, Emma Farge in Geneva and Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by Editing)

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