Tehran: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Thursday praised the armed forces for taking “timely” action against “rioters” and suggested calm had been restored after days of unrest sparked by a hike in petrol prices.
Authorities vowed to arrest leaders of the protests that started last Friday, which were sparked by a sharp hike in fuel prices but which quickly snowballed into wider demonstrations against the regime
During the protests, police stations were attacked, petrol pumps torched and shops looted.
While the Internet remained mostly blocked for a fifth day, state TV showed footage of what it claimed were spontaneous pro-government rallies to celebrate that the conspiracy had been defeated.
Crowds chanted messages such as “death to seditionists, death to America” and “the blood in our veins is a gift to our leader” in cities including Qom, Isfahan, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas and Kerman.
In the days of unrest, “incidents, big and small, caused by the rise in petrol price took place in (a little) less than 100 cities across Iran,” said a statement on the Guards’ official website Sepahnews.com.
It said the “incidents were ended in less than 24 hours and in some cities in 72 hours” as a result of the “armed forces’ insight and timely action.”
Protest leaders were arrested by the Guards’ intelligence arm in the province of Tehran and Alborz as well as in the southern city of Shiraz, said the statement.
The “arrest of the rioters’ leaders has contributed significantly to calming the situation,” it added.
A top Iranian security official, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, vowed that “every single one of the rioters, wherever in Iran they may be, will be identified and punished.”