RPT-UPDATE 3-Iran’s Khamenei backs gasoline value hike, blames ‘sabotage’ for unrest

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* Khamenei backs gas value hikes,

* Iran’s high authority blames enemies for ‘sabotage’

* Iran curbs entry to web after unrest

* Some 1,000 arrested in Iran after protests

* U.S. State Division condemns web curbs

* Calm restored after two days of unrest – IRNA

DUBAI, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday backed the sharp gasoline value rises which have sparked country-wide protests, which he blamed on the Islamic Republic’s opponents and “sabotage” by international foes.

“Some persons are little question fearful by this choice … however sabotage and arson is finished by hooligans not our individuals,” the Iranian Supreme Chief mentioned in a reside speech on state TV.

Riot police and safety forces clashed with demonstrators in Tehran and dozens of different cities on Saturday, Iranian information companies and social media mentioned, a day after the federal government elevated the value of gasoline.

“The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have all the time supported sabotage and breaches of safety and proceed to take action,” Khamenei mentioned, hours earlier than Iranian media mentioned calm had been restored within the nation.

“Sadly some issues had been prompted, a variety of individuals misplaced their lives and a few centres had been destroyed,” he added.

Khamenei, who has the final say on all state issues, mentioned the rise in gasoline costs needs to be applied, however known as on officers to forestall hikes in costs of different items.

Tehran says the gasoline value enhance is predicted to lift round $2.55 billion a 12 months for further subsidies for 18 million households, or about 60 million Iranians, on decrease incomes.

Some Iranian lawmakers, who deliberate to debate methods to power the federal government to revise its choice, withdrew their movement after Khamenei’s Sunday speech, Iran’s state media reported.

And Iran’s Intelligence Ministry mentioned in an announcement reported by Tasnim information company that the protest’s leaders had been recognized and “applicable motion” was being taken.

“Folks have the precise to protest. However that’s completely different from anarchy. We can’t let insecurity within the nation by means of riots,” Iran’s pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani mentioned, in feedback reported by state TV.

One individual died within the southeastern metropolis of Sirjan on Friday, officers mentioned, whereas social media cited a number of others as gas value protests turned political with slogans calling for high officers to step down.

State information company IRNA mentioned one policeman was killed on Saturday within the protests, which struck greater than 100 Iranian cities and cities. Iran’s semi-official Fars information company mentioned 1,000 protesters had been arrested and 100 banks torched.

Iran’s clerical rulers need to stop any repeat of unrest in late 2017, when 22 individuals had been reported to have died throughout protests in 80 cities and cities over poor dwelling requirements, some calling on Shi’ite Muslim clerical leaders to step down.

Though Tehran raised the value of standard gasoline to 15,000 rials ($0.13) a litre from 10,000 rials and in addition imposed rationing, with extra purchases costing 30,000 rials per litre, the gas continues to be among the many most cost-effective on the planet.

‘LET THEM SPEAK!’

Tehran typically accuses exiled opponents in addition to the US, arch-enemy Israel and regional rival Saudi Arabia of attempting to destabilise Iran by means of on-line propaganda campaigns.

Iranian web entry was curbed this week on the orders of a state safety council, the semi-official information company ISNA reported, a transfer apparently aimed toward stopping protesters from speaking with one another and sharing video on social media.

“We condemn the tried shutdown of the web. Allow them to converse!” U.S. State Division spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus mentioned on Twitter on Sunday.

“#Iran is now within the midst of a near-total nationwide web shutdown; realtime community information present connectivity at 7% of strange ranges after 12 hours of progressive community disconnections,” web observatory NetBlocks mentioned.

On the streets, protests turned violent on Saturday after riot police clashed with protesters utilizing golf equipment and firing teargas to disperse them, movies on social media confirmed.

The footage, some displaying protesters setting hearth to buildings and blocking roads, couldn’t be verified by Reuters, together with different photos on social media.

Many outlets in Tehran’s bazaar closed on Sunday, after “disruptions” by individuals from exterior the buying and selling centre, ISNA reported, including that companies had been anticipated to re-open after police reinforcements arrived. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom and Parisa Hafezi; Modifying by Alexander Smith)

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