Iran’s Supreme Leader said he supported the recent gasoline price hikes that have led to major protests across Iran and urged security institutions to quell protests. In comments broadcasted on state-run media on Sunday, Ali Khamenei blamed opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies for what he called “sabotage”.
According to reports from Iran, more than 70 government buildings, including banks, police stations, and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Bassij bases were torched or destroyed by angry protesters.
Security forces have shot and killed at least 27 protesters, while hundreds were injured.
The regime’s Supreme Leader called protesters “hooligans” giving the green light for the brutal suppression of Iranians who are fed up with living in poverty under a theocratic regime.
“Some people are no doubt worried by this decision … but sabotage and arson is done by hooligans not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so,” Khamenei said.
Khamenei acknowledged the death of protesters in his comments.
“Unfortunately some problems were caused, a number of people lost their lives and some centers were destroyed,” he said.
He urged Iranians not to join the protests and said that no person “who enjoys a comfortable life” would help the hooligans, hinting that those who protested would be quashed.
Khamenei said that “lack of security” was a country’s biggest calamity.
The regime’s Supreme Leader urged “officials in charge of providing the country’s security to decisively act upon their duty”.
Following his remarks, the regime’s notorious Chief Justice, Ebrahim Raisi, vowed to deal with “hooligans”.
In a statement today, he said that prosecutors were ordered to decisively take measures against “hooligans and affiliates of anti-revolutionary groups” with the cooperation of the police and security forces.
Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence also issued a statement saying that it was its “duty to deal with hooligans”.
“We will deal decisively with those who disrupt security,” the Ministry wrote today.
“The main elements of the seditions in the past two days have been identified and suitable measures are currently being carried out,” the statement said, adding that the results would be announced.
Hossein Ashtari, Iran’s Chief of Police also threatened protesters.
He said that the police would not allow “disruptors and opportunists” to create “security” issues.
Ashtari said that “protecting public property” was the police’s “red line” adding that the police would “deal with” those who created unrest.
The Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of the central province of Yazd said that 40 protesters had been detained so far in the province. He claimed that those arrested were not locals.
In the western province of Lorestan, a police official said that a number of “dissidents” who had “destroyed public property yesterday” were arrested.
The prosecutor of the city of Bam in the southeastern province of Kerman said that 15 protesters were detained in the city. He also claimed that a number of the protesters were not local. He vowed to deal “severely” with protesters.
Internet black out
The internet has been shut down since last night in Iran.
An informed source told the state-run ILNA News Agency today that Iran’s internet had been shut down due to security reasons.
“The recent unrest has led the Security Council to shut down the internet,” the unidentified source said.
ILNA said that it was not clear when the net would be reconnected.