Calm follows protests over higher fuel prices: at least 12 dead

The Pasdaran threaten "decisive" action in case of more protests. The Internet is still down, and, according to witnesses, protests continue. Schools in scores of cities remain closed and security forces patrol the streets. One thousand people have been arrested.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Things seems to be quiet today in Iran after recent protests over rising fuel prices turned violent, causing the death of at least 12 people.

“Calm has been restored in the country,” said Gholamhossein Esmaili, spokesman for Iran’s judiciary. However, the situation in the streets and various cities remains unclear after the imposition of a news blackout and a nationwide Internet shutdown.

In fact, the Guardians of the Revolution (Pasdaran) yesterday threatened "decisive" action in the event of further protests, fuelling unrest and chaos in the country.

Despite the government saying yesterday that things were "calmer" despite "some minor issues,” some eyewitness accounts report ongoing protests in some cities.

By Sunday, the protests had reached some 100 cities and towns, including the capital, Tehran, as well as Tabriz, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Sanandaj and Shiraz.

About 100 banks and 57 shops were set on fire, and about a thousand “rioters” were arrested. At least three police officers and members of the security forces are among the dead.

Reacting to the situation, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressed concerns over the scope of the protests, blaming foreign agents and domestic “hooligans” for the turn of events.

Given the fact that the nationwide Internet shutdown continued today, it is hard to know what is really happening and assess the protest movement and its possible strength.

There are however ominous signs that suggest that the unrest has not yet been tamed: in many cities, schools remain closed and security forces are out in great numbers patrolling the streets.