News ID: 261705
Published: 0227 GMT November 17, 2019

Intelligence Ministry: Culprits of fuel unrest identified

Intelligence Ministry: Culprits of fuel unrest identified

Political Desk

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said Sunday it has identified those behind deadly unrest that was sparked in several cities following a decision to hike gasoline prices.

“Key perpetrators of the past two days’ riot have been identified and proper action is ongoing,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry vowed to confront “thugs” and anyone who endangers national security.

A policeman was killed in the western city of Kermanhshah in a clash with armed "rioters", the second confirmed death since protests erupted across Iran on Friday.

Several people were also wounded and nearly 1,000 arrested in two days of demonstrations that saw motorists block highways and others attack and set fire to public property including more than 100 banks and nearly 60 shops, according to Fars News Agency.

The protests flared hours after it was announced that the price of gasoline would be raised by 50 percent for the first 60 liters each month and by 200 percent for anything above that.

The gasoline pricing plan was agreed by the High Council of Economic Coordination made up of the president, Parliament speaker and judiciary chief.

Iran’s Leader on Sunday threw his support behind the plan in a speech aired on national television.

Following his speech, Parliament cancelled a motion to reverse the price hike, semi-official News Agency ISNA reported.

Though largely peaceful, the latest demonstrations devolved into violence in several instances, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing tear gas at protesters and mobs setting fires.

 Some of the worst violence was in the central city of Sirjan, where Acting Governor Mohammad Mahmoudabadi said a civilian was killed and fuel stations were among the public property attacked and damaged.

In Kermanshah, a policeman died Sunday, a day after a "confrontation with a number of rioters and thugs," the provincial police chief told IRNA.

In Tehran on Saturday, protesters were seen shouting slogans and burning tires on a street.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the cities of Shiraz, Isfahan and Bushehr, where security forces fired tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators.

Forty "disruptors" were arrested in the central city of Yazd after clashing with police, the province's public prosecutor told ISNA on Sunday. Most were not locals, he added.

Police said security forces would "not hesitate to confront those disrupting peace and security and will identify the ringleaders and field forces and confront them".

Access to the internet has been restricted since the demonstrations broke out.

Netblocks, an internet monitoring website, said late Saturday the country was in the grip of a shutdown.

"Confirmed: Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; real-time network data show connectivity at 7% of ordinary levels after twelve hours of progressive network disconnections," it said on Twitter.

It came after a decision by the Supreme National Security Council, according to a report by ISNA on Sunday.

"Upon the decision of the Security Council of Iran and communicated to internet operators, access to internet has been limited as of last night and for 24 hours," it said, quoting what it called an informed source at the Information and Communications Technology Ministry.

AFP and AP contributed to this story.  


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