At least 251 people have been killed, over 3,700 injured and more than 7,000 arrested in Iran during nationwide protests ignited by a sudden hike in fuel prices.
Those arrested are now at risk of being subjected to torture amid an internet blackout.
Iranian officials have taken turns threatening protesters while admitting to the arrest of many protesters.
Gholamhossein Esmaili, spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, said on Friday that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested about 100 leaders of protests, according to the official IRNA news agency.
“Approximately 100 leaders, heads and main figures of the recent unrest were identified and arrested in various parts of the country by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” Esmaili said.
The Chief of Tehran’s Police said on November 19, that a “large number” of protesters were detained in the past two days in the capital.
Threatening protesters, Rahimi said that the police would soon arrest other protesters who had been identified.
The Chief of police of Iran‘s Alborz Province said that “a large number” of protesters were detained in the past few days in the province.
Meanwhile, regime officials have threatened protesters with severe backlash and even with execution.
In the latest development, Iran’s Chief Justice and a senior Iranian cleric threatened protesters and said that they would be “severely punished”.
According to the IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency, Iran’s Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, notorious for his part in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Tehran, said that “the country’s security” was the regime’s priority.
“Under no circumstances will we allow the least amount of disruption in the country’s security,” he said today in a gathering of the student Bassij paramilitary forces.
Furthermore, Raisi warned that consequences await violent demonstrators.
“Those who in recent days misused the atmosphere and the people’s demands and concerns, instigated riots in the society, created insecurity, made the hearts of women and children tremble, attacked public property and looted people’s belongings, they and their masters must know that a harsh punishment is awaiting them,” Raisi said.
Also today, a top cleric and senior member of the Assembly of Experts thanked Iran’s security forces for killing at least 250 protesters and injuring more than 3,500 people.
“I thank those who upheld security in the country, the Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC Intelligence Department, the Bassij, the police and others who stood against the thugs,” Ahmad Khatami said in his Friday sermon today.
He said that the leaders of the protests were “enemies of God” and should receive the maximum punishment. “Enmity with God” carries the death sentence according to the regime’s Islamic Penal Code.
“In regard to the followers (of the leaders), decisive action should be taken against them so that they don’t take part in this kind of mischief again and so that like-minded people take heed,” Khatami added.
Last week, Kayhan newspaper which reflects the positions of Ali Khamenei, published an article on November 18, suggested executions loomed for those who led violent protests.
“Some reports say that the judiciary considers execution by hanging for the riot leaders a definite punishment,” Kahyan said, without elaborating.
The recent protests in various Iranian cities and towns began last Friday following the announcement of up to 300 percent increase in gasoline prices as well as the reintroduction of fuel rationing. At least 251 protesters have been killed by security, military and paramilitary forces, at least 3,500 have been wounded and more than 7,000 have been arrested in Iran.
Iranian authorities have also shut down the internet in a bid to hide the extent of their suppression and lethal crackdown on protests, in the longest blackout the country has ever seen.