- Iran Says Unrest Will Fade Soon as Judge Orders Tough Punishment
Protests that have roiled Iran over the past five days will die down in a few days, according to a senior Iranian official who blamed the U.S. and Saudi Arabia for stoking unrest.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary general of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, accused Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival, of waging a social media campaign to take advantage of the protests. The demonstrations broke out last week, starting in the holy city of Mashhad and spreading to other parts of the country, including the capital, Tehran.
“What is happening in Iran will be over in a few days, and there is no reason to worry at all,” he said in remarks reported by the state-run Press TV.
More than a dozen people have died in the unrest, which began with a rally against rising prices and the government’s handling of the economy before turning into a wider protest against the political establishment. The demonstrations, however, are smaller than the 2009 protests against presidential election results and do not pose an “existential” threat to the regime, according to Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council.
“I don’t think it will lead to a revolutionary situation,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Tracy Alloway. “It doesn’t seem to have the organization and the leadership to really pose an existential threat to the regime but it can really force to change the conversation and shake up the political landscape.”
Authorities said they’ve arrested scores of people involved in riots. Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, ordered prosecutors to take “serious measures” in dealing with the rioters vandalizing public properties during the recent civil protests, Tasnim news agency reported.