In an address aired by state television, Khamenei said “Some people are no doubt worried by this decision … but sabotage and arson are done by thugs, not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so…Such illegal actions would not solve any problem but add insecurity on top of other problems…Lack of security is the biggest calamity for any country and society. That is what they are looking for. If you note you will see that in the last two days and nights all the centers of sedition have become active…the criminal MEK is continuously calling for these actions and encouraging these actions in social media and other places.”
Ail Shamkhani, the regime’s National Security adviser also blamed the MEK and claimed that some of the arrested demonstrators were from the MEK.
In a closed-door meeting of regime’s parliament “Shamkhani said some the arrestees were from the MEK,” Assadollah Abbasi, spokesman of the regime’s parliament said in a press conference.
Following the regime’s decision to increase the price of gasoline, massive protests and demonstrations sparked overnight and people took to the streets of major cities. Demands of demonstrators from high prices of gasoline quickly turned to regime change and they started to chant “death to the dictator”, “Death to Rouhani,”, and “death to Khamenei.”
Security forces fired live bullets to crackdown the protests and it is reported that over 8 demonstrators have been shot dead.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), hailed the people who have risen up in several provinces and offered her condolences on the death of Rouhollah Nazari, a demonstrator in the city of Sirjan. She urged all the people, especially the youths, across the country to support the protesters. Mrs. Rajavi emphasized that so long as this corrupt and medieval regime remained in power, poverty, high prices, unemployment, corruption, repression, and discrimination would continue. She called on the United Nations and all international human rights organizations to strongly condemn the crackdown on the demonstrations and assign a delegation to investigate the situation of those killed and wounded during this uprising.
Presenting condolences for the heroic martyrs of the uprising,@Maryam_Rajavi hailed #Iranian people in their uprising all over #Iran. She added that Khamenei &his gang try in vain to keep their hold on power through such inhuman crimes.#IranProtests #MEK https://t.co/eagdbTG4nk
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) November 17, 2019
In fear of the spread of the protests, and to put a blackout on the news of the protests, the Iranian regime has shut down the internet.
By Saturday night, “real-time network data show connectivity has fallen to just 7% of ordinary levels following 12 hours of progressive network disconnections as public protests have continued across the country,” NetBlocks said.
“The ongoing disruption is the most severe recorded in Iran since President Rouhani came to power, and the most severe disconnection tracked by NetBlocks in any country in terms of its technical complexity and breadth,” the group said.
The semi-official ISNA news agency reported Sunday that regimes’ Supreme National Security Council ordered a “restriction of access” to the internet nationwide.
Following the shutdown of the internet, state-run media reported that many people have been arrested in different cities across the country, but it is also reported that the people are continuing their protests and the merchants in Tehran’s Bazar has shut down their shops in solidarity with the protesters.