Crackdown mutes Iran protests

Iran's Revolutionary Guards say the country's people and security forces had put an end to unrest fomented by foreign enemies, as parliament and security officials met to discuss the boldest challenge to the clerical establishment since 2009.

There has been more than a week of unrest in Iran in which 22 people have died and more than 1000 arrested, according to Iranian officials. The protests spread to more than 80 cities and rural towns as thousands of young and working-class Iranians expressed their anger at graft, unemployment and a deepening gap between rich and poor.

Residents in various cities have said the protests had subsided after the government intensified a crackdown by dispatching Revolutionary Guards forces to several provinces.

"Iran's revolutionary people along with tens of thousands of Basij forces, police and the Intelligence Ministry have broken down the chain (of unrest)," the Guards said in a statement on their Sepahnews website.

The Guards said the unrest had been "created ... by the United States, Britain, the Zionist regime (Israel), Saudi Arabia, the hypocrites (Mujahideen) and monarchists."

Parliament met on Sunday to discuss the week of unrest with the ministers of interior and intelligence, Iran's police chief and the deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, state television said.

Late on Saturday, videos on social media showed a heavy police presence in cities, including Khorramabad in southwestern Iran where on Wednesday evening social media posts showed protesters throwing stones at riot police.

As protests have ebbed, the government has lifted restrictions it imposed on Instagram, one of the social media tools used to mobilise protesters. But access to a more widely used messaging app, Telegram, was still blocked, suggesting authorities remained uneasy about the possibility of further protests.

Reuters