‘Foreign-trained’ dual nationals among those arrested for stirring up violent fuel price riots – Iranian semi-official news agency Dual Iranian nationals were among those who helped fuel protests against rising gasoline prices that quickly snowballed into violent riots raging through the Islamic Republic, Fars news agency reported.
Iranians also holding German, Turkish and Afghan passports were among those brought to custody last week, it reported on Wednesday citing unnamed security sources. “Special sabotage equipment” was recovered, it added.
The dual nationals had ostensibly been “funded and trained abroad” to target Iran’s infrastructure and stage civil disobedience actions, it claims. These suspects reportedly “confessed their links with the foreign spy agencies after detention.”
Gas prices skyrocketed over the weekend, following a decision by the Iranian government to cut fuel subsidies and redirect those funds to supporting over 60 million people in need. But the measure wasn’t welcomed as people took to the streets in several cities on Friday.
Iran’s security agencies estimate that roughly 87,000 people had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since last Friday.
Most of them avoided joining the rioters who “have been prepared” for a standoff with police and were “looking forward for the situation to [escalate],” the security sources claimed. The protests have escalated into violent unrest with reports of deaths and injuries.
Three members of the Iranian security forces have been killed by protesters in Tehran province alone, before “calm has been restored” in the rest of the country, local media reported on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier expressed support for Iranians who have taken to the streets in protest against the rising price of fuel.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif replied that Washington’s self-professed solidarity with Iranians protesting against rising fuel costs cannot be taken seriously since US sanctions have caused so much suffering in the Islamic Republic.
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