The United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia are behind the recent riots in Iran, said the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani.
Death Toll in Iran’s National-wide Protests Rises to 22
Iran’s state television reported on Tuesday that clashes overnight between protesters and security forces in Iran caused the deaths of nine people, including some rioters who tried to storm a police station to steal weapons.
A further 13 others were killed during the ongoing demonstrations in the country’s cities.
The demonstrations, the largest to strike Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, have seen six days of unrest across the country and a death toll of at least 22.
Videos on social media showed an intense clash in the central town of Qahderijan between security forces and protesters who were trying to occupy a police station, which was partially set ablaze, Reuters reported.
There were unconfirmed reports of several casualties among demonstrators.
In the western city of Kermanshah, protesters set fire to a traffic police post, but no one was hurt in the incident, Mehr news agency said.
The protests began Thursday in Mashhad over Iran’s weak economy and a jump in food prices and have expanded to several cities. Some protesters chanted against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested, the AP reported.
State TV reported that six rioters were killed during an attack on a police station in the town of Qahdarijan. It reported that clashes were sparked by rioters who tried to steal guns from the police station.
State TV also said an 11-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed in the town of Khomeinishahr, while a member of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard was killed in the town of Najafabad. It says all three were shot with hunting rifles, which are common in the Iranian countryside.
The towns are all in Iran’s central Isfahan province, some 350 kilometers south of Tehran.
President Hassan Rouhani has acknowledged the public’s anger over the Islamic Republic’s flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn’t hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.
That was echoed Monday by judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who urged authorities to confront rioters, state TV reported.
“I demand all prosecutors across the country to get involved and the approach should be strong,” he said.
Saudi Arabia is among major players behind recent unrest in Iran, a senior Iranian security official was quoted as saying by Tehran-based Press TV on Tuesday.
The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said certain countries are waging a "proxy war" against the Islamic Republic via social media and the Internet.
The United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia are behind the recent riots in Iran, he said.
In the meantime, Russia considers mass unrest in Iran as an internal matter and hopes that the situation will develop without any bloodshed, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
"External interference destabilizing the situation is inadmissible," Russia’s Foreign Ministry stressed.