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Iran Says Recent Protests Targeted Banks, Filling Stations
Pedestrians in Shahriar, west of Tehran, are shown on November 20 walking past a bank torched during anti-government protests. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Iran Says Recent Protests Targeted Banks, Filling Stations

Iran’s interior minister says recent anti-government protests that Tehran blamed on “foreign” agitators targeted banks, government offices and gas stations. In remarks published on Wednesday by the official IRNA news agency, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said that 731 banks and some 70 filling stations around the country were set ablaze after the government issued a surprise announcement on November 15 that fuel subsidies had been slashed, resulting in a snap 50-percent price hike at the pumps. The news set off several days of nationwide protests that, according to Amnesty International, led to over 140 deaths, with other sources adding that some 4,000 people had been arrested. Iranian authorities, however, cited lower figures, although the protests tapered off after reports that personnel from the country’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps brutally broke up demonstrations and that at least some of those reported to have been killed died from torture after their arrest. The government said the gasoline subsidies were being directed to programs aimed at the poor in light of crippling US sanctions.

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