Iran protests: ‘Iron fist’ threatened if unrest continues

Written By: BBC/Beth Nyaga
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Iran

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have warned anti-government protesters they will face the nation’s “iron fist” if political unrest continues.

Three days of demonstrations erupted over falling living standards.

But a Revolutionary Guards commander said the protests had degenerated into people chanting political slogans and burning public property.

They are the biggest show of dissent since huge pro-reform rallies in 2009. There are reports of two deaths.

There were calls for the removal or death of Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the cities of Khoramabad, Zanjan and Ahvaz.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is a powerful force with ties to the country’s supreme leader, and is dedicated to preserving the country’s Islamic system.

Brigadier-General Esmail Kowsari told the ISNA news agency: “If people came into the streets over high prices, they should not have chanted those slogans and burned public property and cars.”

Iran’s interior minister has also warned the public that protesters will be held accountable.

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“Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behaviour and pay the price,” Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli said.

“The spreading of violence, fear and terror will definitely be confronted.”

What has been happening?

Protests began in the north-eastern city of Mashhad on Thursday and spread to other major cities on Friday.

A small demonstration in Tehran grew to several thousand people on Saturday, and students clashed with police. The protests also became violent in several other towns.

Among the recent events across Iran:

  • Two people were reported dead in Dorud, after apparently being shot
  • In Abhar, demonstrators set fire to large banners bearing the picture of the supreme leader
  • In Arak, protesters reportedly set fire to the local headquarters of the pro-government Basij militia
  • In Mashhad, protesters burned police motorcycles in a confrontation caught on video
  • The CEO of popular mobile messaging app Telegram said an Iranian account had been suspended for calling for attacks on police
  • There are numerous reports of people losing internet access on their mobile phones
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