The Iranian authorities have detained the leading protest organizers, who are being held in different cities throughout the country. Authorities first started detaining protesters in late December, and most of the participants have already been released, Press TV reported, citing a police spokesman.
"The people and protesters who had rightful demands were separated in the minimum time possible from the organizers and those directing [the riots] and the violators were identified and arrested," said police spokesman Said Montazer-al-Mahdi. According to him, the judicial authorities released most of the ordinary participants, leaving only "the main culprits" and "saboteurs" in custody.
IRGC said in a statement on the Guard's Sepahnews website "revolutionary people along with tens of thousands of Basij forces, police and the Intelligence Ministry have broken down the chain [of unrest] created… by the United States, Britain, the Zionist regime [Israel], Saudi Arabia, the hypocrites and monarchists."
According to the newspaper Al-Akhbar, Iran's Attorney General Mohammad Jaafar Montazery, speaking in Kum, has accused the US of setting up two centers for the promotion of rioting in Iran — in Erbil, Iraq and in Herat, Afghanistan.
Iranian authorities claim that more than 450 people have been arrested for participating in the riots, and that all of them will be brought to justice in the near future.
Protests erupted in more than 80 cities and rural towns.
Speaking at a rally in Tehran, Akhmed Khatami, a member of the government's Council of Experts, said that "the Iranian people will muffle the voices of foreign agents speaking on behalf of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."
The European authorities expressed their concern over the demonstrations, called for the civil rights of the protesters to be observed and for demonstrators and police alike to refrain from violence. The US called the riots in Iran a popular uprising and promised to support the participants in the mass demonstrations.
Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
Thousands of government supporters staged demonstrations for a fifth day in a backlash against anti-government protests. According to state television, hundreds of demonstrators gathered despite heavy snowfall.
"Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to Britain! Death to seditionists!" the demonstrators chanted.