Rouhani claims victory over unrest and blames foreigners

DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday claimed victory over unrest he blamed on foreign enemies, according to state media, after protests over fuel price rises rocked the nation.
“The Iranian people have again succeeded in an historic test and shown they will not let enemies benefit from the situation, even though they might have complaints about the country’s management,” Rouhani said in remarks carried by
state broadcaster IRIB on its website.
Thousands of Iranians joined pro-government rallies in several cities on Wednesday, state media said.
State television showed rallies in Rasht, Gorgan and Ardabil in the north, Hamadan in the west, and Shahryar, south of the capital Tehran, where a member of the security forces was also killed in the turmoil.
“The spontaneous (pro-government) demonstrations which you see are the greatest sign of the power of the Iranian people,” Rouhani added.
Iran has blamed “thugs” linked to exiles and foreign enemies for the protests.
The unrest began on Friday after gasoline prices were raised at least 50 per cent and rationing imposed. They quickly turned political.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday the protests had been a security matter, not a popular movement, and had been dealt with successfully.
Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said a plot to bomb Iran’s major gas production installations in Assalouyeh had been thwarted, blaming it on protesters, the semi-official news agency Mehr reported. — Reuters