Al-Monitor – Though protests in Iran over a gasoline price hike due to subsidy reductions appear to have slowed down, they continued for a fourth day Nov. 18. Meanwhile, internet in the country was nearly completely shut down for a fourth straight day as well, restricting the information traveling to and from the country regarding the size of the protests and the number injured or killed. However, the protests were still large enough that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) felt the need to issue a statement.
The Nov. 18 IRGC statement praised the protesters who had separated themselves from “thugs and charlatans” in the streets. Echoing comments by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the statement accused the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and members of the Pahlavi monarchy from the pre-Revolution government of instigating protests. The statement continued that “any type of continued unrest and actions that undermine the calm and peace of the people will be confronted firmly.”
Given that higher gasoline prices would impact the lower economic classes the most, the IRGC statement was careful not to dismiss the protests outright; the six-paragraph statement praised “the people” for their “wisdom” in not falling for the enemy’s traps. The statement suggested that if security services decide to heavily confront any protests, the services will likely claim that the remaining protesters are from armed groups hostile to the government rather than ordinary citizens.
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