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Calls for protests in Iran orchestrated from outside: Interior ministry official


Foreign sources are to blame for inciting Iranians to stage violent anti-government rallies in the Islamic Republic under the guise of protests against economic woes, says an Iranian Interior Ministry official.

Interior Ministry spokesman, Salman Samani, said on Sunday that the bulk of calls for protest rallies in Iran over the past month had originated from outside the country.

Elaborating about the role of social media campaigns for illegal demonstrations in Iran, Samani said, “Those parties circulating such messages expected to win approval in many cities, but in practice, we saw limited cases of demonstrations.”

The official added that only a handful of people were influenced by such propaganda and attended unlawful protests in a few cities.

Investigations reveal that the “main elements provoking” unrest in Iran are mostly individuals that do not care about the economic problems and only “seek to foment chaos by taking advantage of the conditions regarding the price hikes and livelihood problems,” Samani said.

The Iranian official gave an assurance that efforts were underway to control the protests and handle the situation with “minimum tensions and through dialogue,” adding that authorities were “determined to resolve people’s livelihood problems and ensure economic stability.”

The comments came after limited protests were held in the Iranian cities of Shiraz, Isfahan, Ahvaz and Karaj over the past few days against economic conditions. The protests have been largely described as peaceful without any major instance of violence.

Iranians are anxious over the collapse of the rial currency, which has lost nearly two-thirds of its value in six months, resulting in the rise of commodity prices.

Authorities have acknowledged that worries are legitimate, but the biggest concern of many Iranians is that the protests might be hijacked by malicious groups inside and outside the country and turn violent.

In January, several Iranian cities were scenes of protests, but they were hijacked by elements of the MKO terrorist organization. Unknown elements opened fire at protesters and killed several people.

Iranian officials have said the voice of protesters needs to be heard. However, they have warned of efforts by enemies to manipulate the legitimate demands of the people and create mayhem.

The Islamic Republic is additionally wary of Washington’s plots under the administration of President Donald Trump to stir unrest in the country after the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. The US plan to impose new sanctions on Iran is another matter of concern.

Iran’s new central bank governor has promised fresh currency policies in the coming days, and the state has launched an unprecedented transparency push that has seen the arrest of dozens of profiteers.

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