Iran leader calls for ‘Islamic mercy’ after bloody crackdown

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2019, file photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Kh...

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2019, file photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Kh...

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader has reportedly called on judicial officials to treat those detained in recent protests with “Islamic mercy” after authorities acknowledged security forces shot and killed demonstrators nationwide.

A report Wednesday by the state-run IRNA news agency also quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying citizens killed in the protests “without playing any part in instigating them” should be considered martyrs and their families should receive government stipends.

Khamenei’s comments come as Iranian officials only Tuesday openly acknowledged security forces killed demonstrators.

Amnesty International believes at least 208 people were killed in the protests and security force crackdown that began from Nov. 15.

Iran disputes Amnesty’s figures but has so far refused to release any nationwide casualty or arrest figures.