Iran arrests 79 rioters in Khuzestan: Intelligence Ministry

Press TV – Iran’s Intelligence Ministry says the country’s security forces have arrested 79 main elements behind recent riots, which erupted in several cities following a government decision to increase gasoline price, in the southern province of Khuzestan.

An official at the ministry said on Monday that 79 main culprits behind the attacks on public and private centers and military and police bases as well as ordinary people have been identified in Khuzestan Province and arrested during and after the riots.

He added that 13 firearms, including Kalashnikovs and Colts, military uniforms and fake car license plates have also been confiscated.

The official said three terrorist teams, supported by a Persian Gulf state, had received special training and played a leading role in attacking governmental centers and shooting security and police forces.

He did not mention the name of the country but said one of the detainees in Khuzestan Province is the national of that country.

He noted that some terrorist teams which had drawn up plans or played a major role in carrying out acts of sabotage and attacking sensitive centers and people were also arrested.

The Iranian government raised gasoline prices on November 15 in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum daily domestic requirement.

The move prompted some peaceful protests, but riotous elements, taking advantage of the circumstances, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting banks and gas stations ablaze among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

The director general of the anti-espionage department of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said on November 27 that the country’s security forces had arrested eight people linked to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the recent riots over gasoline price hikes.

A number of elements that were seeking to collect information on the riots and transfer it to foreign countries were identified and arrested before they could carry out their mission, the official said.