Fuel price riots exposed enemies’ opportunism: Top general

Press TV – A top military commander says recent fuel-related riots that broke out across Iran exposed the degree of opportunism by which the enemies of the country seek to undermine its stability.

“The enemies … had been waiting for an opportunity like the implementation of the fuel price reform plan to benefit from the wave of public dissatisfaction and to act against the security of the country,” said Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri on Saturday.

Baqeri said it was “an undeniable reality” that economic woes had created problems for the livelihood of the people in Iran.

However, he insisted that it was uncommon and unusual for a series of peaceful protests against fuel price hike to escalate so quickly into riots that caused deaths and inflicted damage on public and private properties.

“The incidents of the recent days … were a plot that had been devised and orchestrated against the country,” said Baqeri, adding that the economic hardships in Iran have created an opportunity for the enemies to try to undermine the country’s stability and security.

The comments by the top military commander are the latest to come from Iranian authorities who believe certain foreign governments helped escalate fuel-related protests in Iran two weeks ago.

Intelligence officials said on Saturday that several people had been arrested on suspicion of collaborating with a UK-based TV station during the recent riots.

The Intelligence Ministry issued a statement saying that those detained included people who communicated with Iran International, a satellite TV believed to be sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government, as well as those who had “implemented the orders” instructed by the TV channel during the recent riots.

The arrests came three days after the Iranian judiciary said it had imposed legal restrictions, including asset freezes, for notable figures working for Iran International after it became clear that those people had played a role in fueling the recent unrest in Iran.