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Iran's Revolutionary Guards say they've stopped Tehran from becoming Beirut

Hike in petrol prices inspired protests [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 November, 2019

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IRGC commander Mohammad Reza Yazdi claimed Iranian forces stopped Tehran from becoming another Beirut or Baghdad.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says their forces have prevented Tehran from becoming "another Beirut or Baghdad" after massacring protesters who took to the streets to voice their frustrations at the country's economic crisis.

"There are those who sold themselves to the enemies seeking to strike security in Iran and Tehran, but our security forces confronted the rioters, refusing their diversion," IRGC commander Mohammad Reza Yazdi said.

He made his remarks at the funeral of another guard who was killed during the protests.

Yazdi accused protesters of having an external agenda, adding "there are at home and abroad who want to turn Tehran to Baghdad and Beirut."

Read more: President Rouhani claims 'armed anarchists' defeated following Iran protests against fuel price hike

"Some of the rioters have contributed to the unrest only unconsciously because they oppose some policies in the country, but some are linked to foreign elements," Yazdi said.

On Tuesday, the United Nations expressed alarm after it emerged that more than 100 demonstrators have been killed over the past five days. 

The UN rights office said it was alarmed by reports live ammunition was being used against protesters and had caused a "significant number of deaths across the country".

But its spokesman Rupert Colville cautioned that casualty details were hard to verify, in part because of a three-day-old internet shutdown.

"Iranian media and a number of other sources suggest dozens of people may have been killed and many people injured during protests in at least eight different provinces, with over 1,000 protesters arrested," he told reporters in Geneva.

"We urge the Iranian authorities and security forces to avoid the use of force to disperse peaceful assemblies."

Prior to Iranians taking to the streets, protests in Lebanon and Iraq broke out, which have been criticised by Tehran. The Iranian regime accused anti-corruption protesters of allowing "foreign entities" to control their countries' fate.

Iranian officials have in the past stirred controversy after comparing their cities to Arab cities.

In 2015, then-member of parliament representing Tehran, Alireza Zakani, boasted Iran has posesses more three extra capital cities - all of them being the Arab world: Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, with Sanaa soon to follow.

Sanaa is controlled by the Iran-linked Houthi rebels.

Zakani is known for being close to the country's Supreme Leader Ayotallah Ali Khamenei.

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