Days after deadly anti-government protests on Ashura, millions of demonstrators gathered across Iran on Wednesday to condemn what they described as defiling the religious ceremony of Ashura.
In the Iranian capital and many other cities millions of people took to the streets in a show of strength and solidarity against anti-government protesters.
The rallies came after protesters took to some central and downtown streets in Tehran on Sunday, hijacking the Ashura ceremonies, during which people commemorate the 7th century death of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) grandson, Imam Hussein (PBUH).
The protesters reportedly chanted slogans against top Iranian government officials and vandalized public property. Iranian police forces used tear gas to disperse protesters.
Seven people were confirmed dead during the unrest. Confirming the deaths, Iran’s Deputy Police Chief Ahmad-Reza Radan said the force did not use violence against protesters, denying any involvement in the killings.
In line with Wednesday’s demonstrations, Iran’s Islamic Propagation Coordination Council issued a statement, condemning the anti-government protests on Ashura.
“A limited number of anti-[Islamic] Revolution trouble-seekers, who are against the Iranian nation’s security, progress, honor and glory, sought to target the most sacred values of Islam in some streets of Tehran under the leadership of foreign media and with the support of certain domineering powers,” read the statement.
The statement criticized the country’s Judiciary, Intelligence Ministry and security officials for showing tolerance toward anti-government protesters, calling on Iran’s Judiciary to identify those behind the unrest.
“We warn certain political movements and individuals, who after their defeat in the [presidential] election and being faced with a big ‘no’ from the nation, instead of adhering to the law and the majority vote, staged a vote fraud charade and laid the ground for sacrilege, desecration and counter-revolutionary acts,” it added.
The statement also expressed “appreciation for the efforts made by the national broadcaster (the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) in bravely uncovering the sedition movement and the role played by Western media and intelligence services in instigating the unrest.””We call on all responsible government organizations to identify those behind the defiling [of religious values] and seek severe penalties against them,” read the statement.