Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Thursday praised the Iranian armed forces for taking “timely” action against “rioters” and said calm had returned after days of unrest sparked by a hike in petrol prices.
“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 IRGC’s official website Sepahnews.com.
The IRGC 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.”
The organization also noted that it had arrested “the rioters’ leaders” in the provinces of Tehran and Alborz and in the southern city of Shiraz. External reports suggest that Shiraz was a particularly strong center for the unrest.
The comments come a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed victory for the government and said Iran had passed an “historic test.” The day before, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had said that the enemy had been “repelled.”
However, the near-total internet shutdown in the country means that it is difficult to ascertain whether protests are still ongoing or not.
Iran’s state TV has not aired any new footage of the unrest since Wednesday, focusing rather on “spontaneous” pro-government rallies in several cities across the country.
Iranians took to the streets on November 15 in response to the government hiking the price of fuel as part of a fiscal reform measure. Iran's economy is struggling amid international isolation stemming from the US' “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign.
Iranian security forces responded to protests with lethal force in various cities across the country, with one newspaper suggesting the death penalty for protesters. The death toll from the protests is also difficult to ascertain due to the government's internet shutdown.
A report by the opposition broadcaster put the death toll at at least 138. Several activists have put the number as high as 200, while the government has yet to announce an official figure.
- With AFP.