Iran Authorities Claim Protest Organizers Detained - Reports

© AP PhotoIn this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, university students attend a protest inside Tehran University while anti-riot Iranian police prevent them to join other protestors, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017
In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, university students attend a protest inside Tehran University while anti-riot Iranian police prevent them to join other protestors, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Iran's Intelligence Ministry has identified and detained a number of individuals over the involvement in provoking unrest in the country's major cities, local media reported on Monday, citing the ministry.

Some of the peaceful gatherings that took place in Iran recently to express public demands over the economic situation in the country turned violent "due to the presence of suspicious and aggressive elements," who caused casualties and damaged public property, the Press TV broadcaster reported.

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 file photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, a university student attends a protest inside Tehran University while a smoke grenade is thrown by anti-riot Iranian police, in Tehran, Iran - Sputnik International
External Interference in Iran's Internal Affairs Unacceptable - Russian MFA
The ministry continued to make efforts to arrest as soon as possible other individuals, potentially involved in inciting unrest, according to the broadcaster.

Several major cities in Iran, including Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Rasht, have been hit by mass protests since December 28, 2017. People have taken to the streets to protest against unemployment, poverty, and the rising cost of living.

Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised to intensify efforts in order to resolve existing economic problems, unemployment, inflation as well as air pollution in the country.

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