IranMiddle East

Rioters in Iran Heavily Armed

Intelligence reports and eye-witness accounts show that the rioters who have taken advantage of public protests against gasoline price hikes to stir chaos in the country are armed with different weapons.

The protest rallies of Iranian people against the gasoline rationing turned violent since the first hours of the gatherings after the rioters used weapons.

In Sirjan city in the Southern province of Kerman, for instance, armed hooligans were about to detonate gasoline tanks, and almost made it if it hadn’t been for the immediate presence of the police troops on the scene.

Security and police reports say the large number of weapons in the hands of the outlaws and rioters which have turned the scene of protests into a battlefield is one of the main features of the present unrests.

Investigations have shown that most people shot in the past few days have been targeted from behind or the sides from a short range and from among protestors.

Also, reports by the security bodies and witnesses indicate that many of the bullets have been fired from inside the protesting crowd and with weapons not registered at official bodies.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government’s gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

“The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price,” the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws’ attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

“The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later,” the statement said.

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