Iran warns regional states of consequences if they stoked unrest

Iran warns regional states of consequences if they stoked unrest
Violent protests over gasoline prices rises in Iran resulted to more than 100 deaths nationwide. (West Asia News Agency via Reuters)
Updated 23 November 2019

Iran warns regional states of consequences if they stoked unrest

Iran warns regional states of consequences if they stoked unrest
  • Amnesty International says at least 30 people were killed in the western provinc
  • The Guards said calm had returned across Iran on Thursday

DUBAI: Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri on Saturday warned regional countries of unspecified dire consequences if it is proven that they meddled to stoke unrest in Iran, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.
“Some countries in the region should know that they will not have an easy life in the region if clues are found that show they intervened to create unrest in Iran,” said Jahangiri, quoted by Fars.
Unrest in Iran began following hikes in gasoline prices, which led to the detention of about 1,000 demonstrators and some of the worst violence in a decade.


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Iranian troops and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards helped police quell violent unrest in Kermanshah province this week, Iranian officials said on Saturday, accusing “US agents” of being among the armed protesters.
Rights group Amnesty International said at least 30 people were killed in the western province, making it the worst-hit by days of protests over gasoline prices rises in which more than 100 people were killed nationwide. Iran rejected the death toll figures as “speculative.”
The unrest appears to be the worst violence at least since Iran stamped out a “Green Revolution” in 2009, when dozens of protesters were killed over several months.
“All the forces of the Revolutionary Guards, the (paramilitary) Basij, the Intelligence Ministry, police, and the army took part actively in controlling the situation,” Parviz Tavassolizadeh, the head of the judiciary in Kermanshah, was quoted as saying by the Fars agency.
Tavassolizadeh said the rioters were armed and burned public property, Fars reported.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International updated its estimated death toll in the unrest to 115 from 106 and urged the international community “to bring Iran’s authorities to account.”
“According to credible reports we have continued to receive, security forces in #Iran have unlawfully killed at least 115 protesters. We believe the real number is much higher and are continuing to investigate. We urge states to bring Iran’s authorities to account,” Amnesty said in statement on its official Twitter.
However, Katy Pownall, Amnesty’s deputy head of news, told Reuters in an email that “we believe that the real figure may be much higher. We are continuing to investigate,” 
Bahman Reyhani, the Revolutionary Guards’ commander in Kermanshah, said “the rioters belonged to anti-revolutionary (exiled opposition) groups and America’s intelligence services,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
Reyhani did not name the groups. Armed Iranian Kurdish militants have long operated near the province’s border with Iraq.
The Guards said calm had returned across Iran on Thursday.
Guards spokesman Brig. Gen. Ramezan Sharif said the protests had been initiated by royalists seeking the return of the Pahlavi dynasty toppled by the 1979 revolution, and the exiled Mujahideen Khalq armed opposition group, Tasnim reported.
He said “secessionist” groups were also involved, apparently referring to ethnic Arab and the Kurdish militants.
Protests began in several areas on Nov. 15 after the government announced gasoline price hikes of at least 50% and imposed rationing. The unrest spread to at least 100 towns and cities as demonstrators demanded senior officials step down.
Iran condemned a US decision to impose sanctions on the Iranian information minister on Friday for his role in a nationwide Internet shutdown meant to help stifle the protests.
“Everyone knows that the current US administration does not value the principles of democracy, transparency and human rights, including freedom of the Internet for others,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state media.
On Thursday, Iran’s National Security Council that had ordered the shutdown approved reactivating fixed-line Internet in some areas after a five-day outage.
The restoration of the Internet, slow on the first two days, sped up on Saturday, with observatory NetBlocks saying network data showed connectivity was up to 64% of normal levels.
State television showed thousands marching in pro-government rallies in several cities on Saturday. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom Editing by Helen Popper and Ros Russell)