Iranian army says it will confront enemies as protests rage


FILE PHOTO: A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police", in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) -The Iranian army said on Friday it will "confront the enemies" to ensure security, the toughest warning yet to nationwide protesters enraged by the death of a woman held by police.

Iranians have staged nationwide demonstrations over the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested by the morality police for wearing "unsuitable attire".

The army said "these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime".

It will "confront the enemies' various plots in order to ensure security and peace for the people who are being unjustly assaulted," it said.

More demonstrations as well as pro-government protests were planned for Friday, Iranian media said.

Iranian media described the pro-governmemt marches that will begin after Friday prayers as a "roar of people's zeal against rioters".

Iran's clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic's history. Reuters reported 1,500 people were killed.

In the latest unrest, protesters in Tehran and other cities have torched police stations and vehicles as outrage over Amini's death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

Iranian media have reported the arrest of 280 rioters on Thursday.

Amini's death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran - including strict dress codes for women - and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Iran's clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic's history.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Writing by Michael Georgy, Editing by Alex Richardson and Angus MacSwan)

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