The provincial capital of the same name near the border with Iraq was one of the few cities where armed bandits went on a rampage, taking advantage of peaceful protests against a government decision to hike petrol prices.
Governor Houshang Bazvand said on Sunday the attackers had targeted ordinary people and security forces alike and destroyed public property and major economic and business places in the city.
“Saboteurs and rioters torched many businesses in Kermanshah,” he said. “They were linked to PJAK, Daesh, MKO and anti-establishment groups, but they have all been identified by the police and security forces and will be dealt with legally” for their crimes.
Daesh has never had a base in Iran, but it has reportedly attracted a few members in Iranian towns and villages close to the Iraqi border in the west.
PJAK is a terrorist group with bases in the mountainous regions of northern Iraq that has perpetrated occasional hit-and-run attacks in western Iran, where Kurdish populations live.
The MKO is a notorious terrorist cult responsible for the deaths of more than 17,000 Iranians, including senior officials and ordinary people. Until recent years, the group was listed as a terrorist organization by the international community, but the US and Europeans are now courting it with much audacity as a leverage against Iran.
The recent riots exposed foreign support, meddling and planning, Bazvand said, adding residents in Kermanshah had exercised vigilance and distanced themselves from the attackers as they saw their acts of banditry.
On Sunday, people in Kermanshah were planning to condemn the riots and reaffirm their support for the Islamic Republic in a rally.
Officials said on Saturday Iranian troops and members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had helped police quell the violent unrest in the province.
Police said 180 ringleaders of the unrest had been detained across the country.
IRGC spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said the protests had been initiated by royalists seeking the return of the Pahlavi dynasty toppled by the 1979 revolution, and MKO terrorists who have been banished from Iran as well as secessionists.
Iran’s IRGC arrests 100 ringleaders of recent riotsJudiciary spokesman says Iran’s elite defense forces have apprehended around 100 of the ringleaders who were involved in the recent riots.
Protests began on Nov. 15 after the government announced a gasoline rationing scheme and rose prices by 50% for the first 60 liters and 300% for each additional liter above the monthly ration.
The government says the move is necessary to channel the proceeds in the form of monthly payments to that segment of the population which is suffering the most under draconian US sanctions.
The move prompted protests in a number of cities that went largely peaceful, but turned violent when riotous elements took advantage of the situation to destroy public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities.
There have been reports of multiple fatalities during the flare-up, but there is yet no official confirmation of the exact number of casualties.
US leaders have supported the rioters, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on them to send him videos of their protests and attacks.