DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri warned the countries of the region on Saturday about the consequences if it is proven that they will meddle in provoking recent unrest in Iran.
FILE PHOTO: Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri speaks during a news conference following a meeting with Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in Najaf, southern Baghdad, on February 18, 2015 REUTERS / Alaa Al-Marjani / Photo from the archive
"Some countries in the region should know that they will not have an easy life in the region if clues are found that show that they have interfered in creating unrest in Iran," said Jahangiri, quoted by semi-official Fars news agency.
Iran blamed "outlaws" linked to foreign exiles and enemies – the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia – for causing unrest after rising gas prices, which led to the worst violence in a decade.
Iran's regional rival, Saudi Arabia, and its arch-enemy Israel backed US measures to reinstate sanctions that hurt Tehran's economy after Washington withdrew from the 2015 Islamic Republic's nuclear deal with world powers.
Meanwhile, police said 180 "leaders" of the disturbances were detained by their agents around the country, state television reported. On Friday, the judiciary said the Revolutionary Guard had arrested about 100 protest leaders.
About 1,000 protesters were arrested, Iranian media reported nearly a week ago.
The Human Rights Center in Iran, a New York advocacy group, said on its website that a count based on official data and reliable reports suggested that “a minimum of 2,755 people were arrested, with the actual minimum probably higher. around 4,000 ”.
Iranian troops and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards helped police crack down on violent unrest in Kermanshah province this week, Iranian officials said on Saturday, accusing the US. agents ”to be among the armed protesters.
The unrest appears to be the worst violence, at least since Iran sparked a "Green Revolution" in 2009, when dozens of protesters were killed for several months.
Amnesty International said at least 30 people were killed in Kermanshah, making it hardest hit by the protests and updating its death toll to 115 out of 106.
Iran rejected the death toll figures as "speculative".
Bahman Reyhani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard in Kermanshah, said "the protesters were from anti-revolutionary (exiled opposition) groups and US intelligence services," semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
He did not name the groups. Armed Iranian Kurdish militants have long been operating near the province's border with Iraq.
Guard spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said the protests were initiated by royalists seeking the return of the Pahlavi dynasty overthrown by the 1979 revolution and the armed opposition group Mujahideen Khalq in exile, Tasnim said.
He said "secessionist" groups were also involved, apparently referring to Arab ethnic groups and Kurdish militants.
Protests began in several areas on November 15, after the government announced gasoline price increases of at least 50 percent and imposed rationing. The unrest spread to at least 100 cities as protesters demanded top officials resign.
Iran condemned a US decision to impose sanctions on Iran's Information Minister on Friday for his role in a national Internet shutdown designed to help crack down on protests.
"Everyone knows that the current US government does not value the principles of democracy, transparency and human rights, including internet freedom, to others," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state media. .
The graph showing internet access being restored in Iran is seen in this screenshot taken from a social media video on November 23, 2019. Netblocks.org/via REUTERS
On Thursday, Iran's National Security Council, which ordered the shutdown, approved the reactivation of fixed-line Internet in some areas after a five-day outage.
Internet restoration, slow in the first two days, accelerated on Saturday, with the observatory's NetBlocks indicating that network data showed that connectivity was up to 72% of normal levels.
Dubai newsroom report; Editing by Helen Popper, Ros Russell and Alexandra Hudson
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