Hundreds of people take to the street in major cities across Iran to protest against the government's economic and social policies. (Photo/Screenshot from CGTN)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday warned of what he calls the enemies' all-out efforts, including inciting unrest, to harm the Islamic republic.
The enemy has been always seeking to find an opportunity to infiltrate into Iran and harm the Iranian nation, Khamenei said in his first comments on the unrest in some Iranian cities that broke out on Thursday.
"The enemies of Iran allied with each other by employing various tools at their disposal, including money, weapon, politics and security organizations, in order to cause problems for the Islamic establishment," he was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
Khamenei described the Iranian nation's courage, devotion and faith as the main factors in warding off the hostile moves.
According to unofficial reports, at least 20 people, including civilians and security policemen, were killed and dozens of others injured as protests against the government's economic and social policies continued in major cities across Iran over the past few days.
According to Iran's security officials, scores of protesters were also arrested.
On Tuesday, a senior Iranian security official also said that Saudi Arabia is among major players behind recent unrest in Iran, Press TV reported.
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said certain countries are waging a "proxy war" against the Islamic republic via social media and the internet.
The United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia are behind the recent riots in Iran, he said.
The hashtags and campaigns on social media concerning the situation in Iran are all in fact being guided by these countries, he said, adding that "based on our analyses, around 27 percent of the new hashtags against Iran are generated by the Saudi government."
Shamkhani said that this foreign-backed intervention is aimed at hampering Iran's progress in different spheres.
"What is happening in Iran will be over in a few days, and there is no reason to worry at all," he said.
Earlier in the day, Iran's judiciary warned participants in violent unrests of the consequences of their disorderly conduct.
Rioters arrested after the interior ministry's ban on such gatherings will have to face more severe punishment because they have consciously taken to the streets and resorted to violence, head of Tehran's Revolutionary Tribunal, Mousa Qazanfarabadi, was quoted as saying.
As the days pass by, those arrested in riots will face heavier penalties, as they are not deemed to be protestors any more, but rioters seeking to harm the core of the Establishment, said Qazanfarabadi.
The court chief said that individuals already detained in Tehran and other cities on charges of leading the riots and having links with foreign espionage services will appear in court very soon.
Qazanfarabadi went on to say that a number of the most wanted mercenaries have been captured by the security forces amid the recent riots.
On Monday, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani ordered the country's prosecutors to take serious measures in dealing with the rioters vandalizing public properties amid the recent civil protests.
Amoli Larijani urged the prosecutors to monitor the situation closely, steer those pursuing legitimate demands towards lawful methods, and get tough with vandals destroying public and private properties and violating the rights of others.