TEHERAN – Iranian authorities increased on Tuesday the severity of charges and penalties anti-government protesters are to face going forward, even threatening the death penalty in some cases.
The country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed that Iran’s enemies were searching for any opportunity to attack his country and blamed outside sources for the protests that started on Thursday.
“In recent events, enemies of Iran have allied & used the various means they possess, including money, weapons, politics & intelligence services, to trouble the Islamic Republic,” Khamenei tweeted on Tuesday.
The Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that the head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Tribunal, Hojjatoleslam Mousa Qazanfarabadi, had warned that those who were detained during the demonstrations could now be charged with serious crimes.
Qazanfarabadi said that there would be heavier punishments for those who have been arrested after the third day of riots, when the interior ministry announced the demonstrations were illegal.
According to Qazanfarabadi, the protesters were no longer lawful demonstrators, but instead insurrectionists working against the state.
At least 20 people have died in clashes between the police and anti-government protesters who are demonstrating against corruption and high costs of living in Iran.
The protesters raised slogans against the regime of the Islamic Republic, while clashes took place between demonstrators and security agents in a large number of Iranian cities.
So far, a total of 450 have been detained in Tehran alone.