UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Iran’s Basij militia says the unrest caused by high fuel prices amounts to a “global war” against Tehran that has been thwarted and blamed Washington, Riyadh and Israel.
Protests broke out across the country on which sanctions were imposed on November 15, after the price of gasoline rose by up to 200 percent.
The authorities confirmed the arrest of some of the leaders of the protests, which included attacking police stations, burning petrol stations and some shops were looted.
“There was a world war against the regime and the revolution. Fortunately, the child died the moment he was born,” said Major General Salary Ganoush, deputy head of the Basij militia.
The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Abnoush as saying that the interrogations revealed that the “coalition of evil” composed of “Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia” was behind “sedition”.
The UN Human Rights Office said it was concerned about reports that live ammunition used by security forces to quell unrest had caused “a large number of deaths.”
Officials confirmed the deaths of five people, while Amnesty International said it believed more than 100 protesters had been killed and the real death toll could be as high as 200.
In turn, the Revolutionary Guards said that during the unrest, “accidents occurred … due to high gasoline prices in less than 100 cities.”
“The incidents ended in less than 24 hours and in some cities within 72 hours,” he said.
– Partial Internet return?
The Internet remains largely blocked in Iran on Friday for the sixth day in a row, although officials and news agencies said the network outage was gradually declining.
The communications minister told ISNA that the call had returned in some provinces but did not give a date for full coverage.
“Other places will be reconnected on the orders of the Supreme National Security Council,” Mohammad Jawad Azri Jahromi said, adding that the ministry was still assessing the damage.
The agency pointed to the return of the Internet to the fixed telephone in part in a number of provinces and some universities in Tehran as of Thursday, while mobile phone data can access local sites only.
NetBlocks, which monitors network shutdowns, showed that the actual Internet penetration rate in Iran was only 14 percent by mid-Friday.
Abnoush said that cutting off the Internet helped “disrupt complicated plans” by Iran’s enemies.
A spokesman for the Assembly of Experts called on the authorities to keep “foreign networks” blocked after reconnecting, saying they “teach people riots and commit crimes.”
“If you are going to reinstate it, I ask you not to open it completely,” Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said in the Friday prayer sermon broadcast on state television.
The council is elected by carefully selected clerics, supervises the work of the supreme leader and has the power to remove him.
Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Haider Baidi-Nejad, said Tehran had lodged a complaint with the British authorities about “the behavior of Persian-language (hostile) networks such as the BBC Persian, Iran International and Manuto” based in London.
“Their reports were a biased distortion of recent events in Iran and a call for widespread violence against Iranian civil institutions,” he wrote.
– “Evil commander” –
Khatami accused foreign powers of fomenting unrest and singled out the United States as a “leader of the wicked.”
He said the United States “acknowledged this, and unfortunately France and Germany walked with their passengers.”
Khatami said that “the black regime of Saudi Arabia … also helped with money and the provision of media coverage,” and urged the Saudi people to “rise” and not be a “follower” of the United States and Israel.
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of cutting off the Internet to cover up “death and tragedy.”
“Iran has become so unstable that the regime has completely shut down the internet system so that the great Iranian people cannot talk about the massive violence that is happening inside the country,” he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to “expose and punish perpetrators”.
He urged the Iranians to send “videos, photos and information documenting the regime’s repression.”
The EU also urged Iran to show “maximum restraint” in dealing with the protests. Tehran responded by accusing the European Union of interference and asking it to “explain why it did not keep its promises” to help bypass US sanctions that have pushed the Iranian economy into recession.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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