Iran vows to 'decisively' deal with anti-regime, economy crisis protests

Large anti-government protests last erupted in Iran in early 2020.

People protest against increased gas price, on a highway in Tehran, Iran November 16, 2019.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
People protest against increased gas price, on a highway in Tehran, Iran November 16, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran promised on Friday to deal "decisively" with further protests over economic hardship, a day after security forces fired teargas to disperse demonstrators in the southwestern city of Behbahan, Reuters reported.
Iranian police urged people in a statement on Friday to "vigilantly refrain from any gathering that could provide a pretext for the counter-revolutionary movement," accusing "enemies" of whipping up discontent.
"The police force has an inherent and legal duty to deal decisively with these desperate moves," the statement said, according to Reuters.
According to London-based Middle East analyst Raman Ghavami, thousands gathered in the Khuzestan city of Behbahan, chanting slogans against Iranian involvement in other countries in the region amid the deepening economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, my life for Iran," the demonstrators can be heard shouting on a video posted by Ghavami on Twitter. "Down with the Islamic Republic!"

A series of explosions at Iranian nuclear sites and strategic infrastructure have rocked the Islamic Republic in recent weeks, first being reported in late June. Having gone on for three weeks, the blasts have claimed 21 lives as of Tuesday, according to Al Jazeera. 

The explosions have been unofficially attributed to Israeli cyberattacks and covert strikes by US and Israeli forces. The Iranian regime has vowed to respond to the incidents, originally claiming they were accidents.

Large anti-government protests last erupted in Iran in early 2020, with hundreds of protesters demanding Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down after Tehran admitted its military had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian plane, killing all 176 people on board.

"Commander-in-chief [Khamenei] resign, resign," videos posted on Twitter showed hundreds of people chanting in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir university.

Previously, hundreds were reportedly killed in protests in multiple cities across the Islamic Republic in November 2019. 

With the official death toll standing at 400 and unofficial claims ranging up to 1,000, the 2019 series of protests is believed to be the deadliest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Prior to the Thursday reports, Iran's judiciary suggested Wednesday it might halt the executions of three men who allegedly took part in the November protest, BBC reported. 

According to the media outlet, the detainees' lawyers were told they could for the first time see the evidence and court paper against their clients following a social media campaign backed by celebrities.

According to the BBC, the Persian hashtag #do_not_execute was used over five million times over the last few days since the Islamic Republic's Supreme Court announced on Tuesday the executions of the men were upheld.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks wrote on Twitter that it had seen some internet restrictions in place in oil-rich Khuzestan late on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.