Iran Judiciary: 300 in Custody over Suspected Role in Tehran Riots
By Staff, Agencies
The Iranian Judiciary says around 300 individuals are currently in custody over their suspected involvement in the deadly riots that recently hit Tehran, and that their fate will soon be determined.
Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, the Judiciary’s spokesman, said Tuesday that those detainees found to have been among “saboteurs” will face prosecution in no time, while the rest will be released as soon as possible.
The Iranian government raised gasoline prices on November 15 in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum daily domestic requirement.
The move prompted some peaceful protests, but riotous elements, taking advantage of the circumstances, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property and setting banks and gas stations ablaze.
Authorities say some also used firearms and other weapons against protesters and security forces.
A number of people and security forces also lost their lives during the violence. There is no official tally on the number of casualties yet.
The Judiciary said last month that a number of the rioters were tied to the notorious US-backed Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization [MKO] terror group, royalists as well as separatists, who were nabbed in the country’s border provinces, besides members of organized groups trained towards staging acts of sabotage.
During his Tuesday’s remarks, Esmaili dismissed as “utter lies” unofficial casualty figures given for the recent street violence.
“The numbers and figures that are being given by hostile groups are utter lies and the statistics is fewer than what they claimed,” he said.
“They released some numbers as well as some names... Their claimed numbers are sheer lies and fabricated,” he said, in remarks aired on state television, adding that the numbers are at variance with the names, which include deaths unrelated to the violence and those who are alive.
The judiciary spokesman further hailed the Iranian people for participating in pro-establishment rallies in condemnation of the recent riots and “separating their ranks from rioters.”
A week after the violent riots, hundreds of thousands of Iranians across the country poured to the streets to stress support for the government and express outrage at anarchist measures meant to take lives and inflict damage on public property during the riots.
In a separate development, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said the country’s security forces had disbanded a counter-revolution network plotting to carry out acts of violence in universities of Tehran and other cities.
The ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that security forces identified and arrested the main elements of the network, who were planning to provoke unrest and disrupt the events marking Iran’s National Student Day later this week.
The occasion marks the anniversary of the murder of three students of University of Tehran on December 7, 1953 by Iranian police in the Pahlavi era.
Every year there are local demonstrations at many universities organized by students. The government also organizes a national demonstration to honor the occasion.