Iran opposition says 72 killed in vote protests

TEHRAN — An aide to Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said in a website report posted Thursday that 72 people died in post-election violence, upping an earlier toll of 69.

"The number of people killed in street protests has reached 72," Ali Reza Behesti was quoted on reformist website as saying.

He also suggested that the actual death toll could be higher as "several families who lost their loved ones have not revealed their deaths due to the current political situation in the country."

On August 11, Behesti said 69 people were killed in the violence triggered after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which the opposition claims was rigged.

Iranian officials claim about 30 people were killed.

Soon after the June 12 victory of Ahmadinejad, Iran was rocked by violence unseen in the 30-year history of the Islamic republic.

Around 4,000 protesters who opposed Ahmadinejad were initially arrested. While most of them have since been released, 140 have been put on trial.

Iran's other opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, has claimed that several detained protesters have been raped in custody, and some even beaten to death.

Iranian officials have dismissed these claims.

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