Iran’s Guards warn of action if unrest continues

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards warned anti-government protesters on Monday of “decisive” action if the unrest over gasoline price hikes does not cease, state media said, in a hint that a harsh security crackdown could be on the cards.

The protests have spread across the Islamic Republic since Friday, turning political with demonstrators demanding that top clerical leaders step down. At least 100 banks and dozens of buildings and cars have been torched, state media reported.

“If necessary we will take decisive and revolutionary action against any continued moves to disturb the people’s peace and security,” the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s heavily armed main security force, said in a statement carried by state media.

Authorities said several people, including members of the security forces and policemen, had been killed and around 1,000 ”rioters” arrested, some for using guns and knives.

Meanwhile, Tehran condemned the United States’ support for “rioters” in a statement issued late on Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry said that it was reacting to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “expression of support… for a group of rioters in some cities of Iran and condemned such support and interventionist remarks”. In a tweet on Saturday, Mr. Pompeo said in response to the demonstrations that “the United States is with you”.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed his comments, saying: “The dignified people of Iran know well that such hypocritical remarks do not carry any honest sympathy.”