FOURTEEN people are thought to have died in protests in Iran, according to reports
Riot cops and security forces clashed with demonstrators in Tehran and dozens of cities across Iran today, as protests against a rise in petrol prices turned political.
UK based Middle East expert Amjad Taha tweeted that up to 14 of the protestors had been fatally shot by Iranian police.
Reports said demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans around the country, a day after the government increased the price of regular gasoline to 15,000 rials (35 pence) a litre from 10,000 rials and rationed it.
State television said police clashed with what it called rioters in some cities and fired teargas to disperse them.
One person was killed and several people were wounded in the city of Sirjan in Kerman province on Friday, the ISNA news agency quoted a local official as saying on Saturday.
“People attacked a fuel storage warehouse in Sirjan and tried to set fire to it”, the state news agency IRNA said.
Videos posted on social media from inside Iran showed protesters setting fire to buildings and clashing with riot police. In other videos protesters blocked roads and set fires in the streets in Tehran and some other cities. Some chanted slogans against top officials.
The videos and other images on social media could not be verified by Reuters.
“People are very angry here in Shiraz. I heard gun shots. Hundreds of people are in the streets. They burned a police car this morning,” a witness, who asked not to be named, told Reuters by telephone.
Protests spread to least 40 cities and towns on Saturday, Iranian media said.
Videos on social media showed riot police firing teargas and using clubs to disperse protesters in several cities. A video shared on Twitter showed protesters setting fire to a bank.
State-run TV accused “hostile media” of trying to exaggerate the size of demonstrations by “using fake news and videos on social media”.
General Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri told state TV that demonstrators who blocked roads and clashed with security forces certainly have roots outside the country”.