Iranian banks and government buildings torched


More than 730 banks and 140 government sites were torched in recent unrest in Iran, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said in remarks published by the official IRNA news agency.

And more than 50 security forces bases were attacked and 70 gas stations burned, he said, without specifying where the attacks happened.

According to IRNA, Rahmani Fazli said up to 200 000 people took part nationwide in the unrest starting on November 15 after fuel price hikes.

London-based Amnesty International recorded at least 143 protesters killed in the worst anti-government unrest in Iran since authorities put down “Green Revolution” demonstrations against election fraud in 2009.

Iran rejected Amnesty’s death toll. It said several people, including security force members, were killed and more than 1 000 arrested. The Centre for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based advocacy group, said the number of arrests was probably closer to 4 000.

The protests quickly turned political, with protesters calling on leaders to step down. Government blamed “thugs” linked to exiles and the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia for stirring up unrest.

The protests came as new US sanctions cut off nearly all Iran’s oil exports and as similar protests started in Iraq and Lebanon against governments that include heavily armed pro-Iran factions.