At least 61 people have been killed in 10 cities and hundreds were wounded in Iran since the start of anti-government protests of Friday. The numbers could be far higher as the regime resorts to more deadly crackdown while blocking nearly all Internet access.
Reports indicate at least 61 dead and hundreds injured as #IranProtests are spreading across #Iran
The numbers could be far higher as the regime resorts to more deadly crackdown while blocking nearly all Internet access. pic.twitter.com/DoAiIvbrX7
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) November 18, 2019
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have announced in a statement today that they would “deal decisively” with gas price protests in Iran.
More than 1,000 protesters have been arrested across the country, according to the state-run Fars News Agency.
Many protesters were killed in the southwestern city of Shiraz and the western city of Kermanshah on November 16 and November 17 which have not been included in the number of killed protesters given above.
In Karaj, near the capital, at least 19 people were killed. Seven people were killed in the southwestern city of Behbahan while five protesters were killed in Khoramshahr.
In the western city of Marivan five protesters were killed. Five others were killed in the central city of Isfahan. In the western city of Javanroud, two protesters were killed while another two people were killed in Baharestan, Tehran. One person was killed in the southwestern city of Ahvaz while another protester was killed in Sirjan in the southwestern province of Kerman.
Protests erupted in several cities across the country Friday and spread to 107 cities following Thursday’s announcement by Iran’s National Oil Company (NIOPDC) of at least a 50% increase in gas prices.
Officials say the changes will free up money to help the poor.
Many protesters however, believe that the Iranian regime has increased the price of gasoline in Iran, while it is spending billions of dollars to support Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as militant forces in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
On the third day of gas price protests on Sunday, Iran imposed an almost complete nationwide internet blackout to cut off Iranians from each other and the rest of the world.
Confirmed: #Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; realtime network data show connectivity at 7% of ordinary levels after twelve hours of progressive network disconnections as public protests continue #IranProtests 📉
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) November 16, 2019
Giving the green light for the brutal suppression of Iranian protesters, Khamenei called the demonstrators “thugs” and backed the decision to raise prices.
#Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei personally weighed in today and called the #IranProtesters “hooligans.” He instructed “officials in charge of maintaining security” to “carry out their line of duties.” @RichardGrenell@StateDeputySPOX @leloveluck https://t.co/bcOTLgNiSY pic.twitter.com/UL9Xmt8J21
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) November 17, 2019
“Some people are no doubt worried by this decision … but sabotage and arson are 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 in a speech on Sunday.
Khamenei said he would endorse rationing and increasing gas prices because heads of three branches of government — the presidency, judiciary and parliament — had made the decision. He blamed opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies for what he called “sabotage”.
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.
Following his remarks, other officials warned of a harsh response to protests.
The regime’s notorious Chief Justice, Ebrahim Raisi, vowed to deal with “hooligans”.
In a statement 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 Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazil has also said security forces will act against those protesting a nationwide increase in gas prices if the “vandalism” continues, according to state-run Press TV.