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Iran Official Warns 'No Easy Life' If Neighbors Fomented Unrest


Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri

Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has warned nearby countries that they "won't have an easy life" if they are found to have had a hand in the unrest that has rattled Iran over the past week and prompted a broad crackdown on protests and a nationwide shutdown of Internet access.

Officials have said the protests, which were thought to have spread to more than 100 Iranian cities after an announcement of gasoline rationing and price hikes on November 15, have died down.

Tehran has blamed foreign enemies including the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, and "thugs" for some of the worst public violence in Iran in a decade.

"Some countries in the region should know that they will not have an easy life in the region if clues are found that show they intervened to create unrest in Iran," Fars quoted Jahangiri as saying, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have backed tougher measures by Washington since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers to restrict Iranian nuclear activities in exchange for an end to sanctions.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and outside groups have said that dozens of demonstrators have been killed and many more injured this week in Iran, with many more in detention.

Amnesty International on November 23 revised its estimated death toll from the unrest to 115, from 106.

The information and Internet blackouts have made reporting difficult, and Iranian authorities say those numbers are "fabricated."

Images on state television on November 23 showed thousands of Iranians marching in rallies of support for the government in several cities.

An Internet freedom advocacy group, NetBlocks, also said that Internet connectivity in Iran had suddenly shot up to 66 percent, signaling an easing of official measures to cut off access.

“Internet access is being restored in #Iran after a weeklong internet shutdown amid widespread protests,” it tweeted earlier in the day.

Iranian authorities said that they had arrested roughly 100 "leaders" of protests by November 22, when official media were already declaring the demonstrations behind them.

"All the forces of the Revolutionary Guards, the [paramilitary] Basij, the Intelligence Ministry, police, and the army took part actively in controlling the situation," Parviz Tavassolizadeh, who heads the powerful Judiciary in Kermanshah, in western Iran, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying on November 23.

The security sweeps and detentions are the worst Iran has seen since socioeconomic woes sparked street protests in late 2017 and they were accompanied by threats from Iranian officials that some protesters should face death sentences.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
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