Iran arrests 180 people suspected of leading fuel protests
Iranian security forces have arrested 180 suspected protest leaders following days of demonstrations over higher fuel prices, the Supreme National Security Council said in a statement on Sunday.
Those detained included monarchists and members of the banned opposition People's Mujahedin, or Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), financed by the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia, the security council said in a statement. It compared the detainees' actions to those of the Islamic State terrorist group.
The officials did not say how many people have been killed in the protests.
On Saturday, Amnesty International said at least 115 people have been killed by security forces in the protests, which broke out across Iran on 15 November against a petrol price hike and the rationing of fuel.
Tehran has reported that nine people were killed in demonstrations on 15 November - four protesters, three members of the Revolutionary Guard and two police officers.
The official death toll has not been updated since then. The government shut down most domestic Internet access for several days to prevent the spread of information and images of the unrest.
NetBlocks, an organisation that tracks Internet access, said on Saturday that Internet access was gradually being reinstated. However, disturbances were still being reported on Sunday.
A commission of the Iranian parliament concluded on Sunday that telecommunications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi was not to blame for the Internet blockade, after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Jahromi.
Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Corps declared the unrest to be over on Thursday. A large state-organised demonstration is planned in Tehran on Monday to support the Iranian leadership. (dpa)