• Press Release

Iranian Tear Gas Grenades Among Those Causing Gruesome Protester Deaths in Iraq

November 7, 2019

UPDATE to press release of October 31, 2019: Amnesty International has conducted further research into the 40mm “less lethal” grenades killing protesters during the recent violence in Baghdad. The new analysis showed that, in addition to the Serbian Sloboda Ĉaĉak M99 grenades already identified, a significant portion of the deadly projectiles are in fact M651 tear gas grenades and M713 smoke grenades manufactured by the Defense Industries Organization (DIO) of Iran.

The Bulgarian company Arsenal has sold grenades and other arms to Iraq, including hand-thrown smoke grenades used during the recent protests in Baghdad. However, Amnesty International misattributed the provenance of some of the 40mm grenades in our original press release. We have corrected this in the text below.

Since first publishing our findings on October 31, Amnesty International has reviewed and verified video evidence of four additional deaths caused by the Serbian and Iranian grenades and has received a significant number of additional photos of the weapons, via sources on the ground. It was through analyzing this new evidence that Amnesty International was able to make this identification.

Amnesty International does not have information on the identities of the security forces firing these Iranian M651 and M713 grenades in Baghdad.

The deadly grenades must be recalled from use immediately. There should be an independent, impartial and transparent investigation into their use and into other cases of unlawful killings and injuries during the protests, with any security forces responsible for excessive use of force held to account.

For more details on Amnesty’s investigation into the grenades and the horrific injuries and deaths they caused, please see:


Additional Background

On October 1, 2019, nationwide two-week protests over unemployment, corruption and poor public services broke out in Iraq. The protests were renewed on the night of October 24 in Baghdad and other provinces of Iraq including Karbala, Basra, Babel and Diwaniya. During this latest wave of protests, Amnesty International documented the excessive, and in some cases, lethal use of force by security forces to disperse protesters, including by tear gas, live ammunition and deadly sniper attacks. The organization has also documented a relentless campaign of intimidation and assault against activists in Baghdad, including enforced disappearance. Amnesty International continues to receive reports of excessive force used to disperse protesters and new cases of arrest and intimidation of protesters.