Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called on Iranian officials to treat those suspected of involvement in the recent riots over gasoline price hikes with “Islamic compassion.”
The Leader’s remark came in response to a report by Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, that put forward suggestions for handling the situation in the wake of the riots and compensating those killed or sustained damage or injuries.
In mid-November, the Iranian government raised gasoline prices in order to moderate the national consumption rate.
The move prompted protests in a number of cities that went largely peaceful but turned violent when armed riotous elements took advantage of the situation to vandalize public and state property, and attack civilians and security forces alike.
Shortly after the riots broke out, the Leader tasked the Supreme National Security Council with compiling a report detailing the reasons behind the riots and immediate attending of the families of victims.
The report suggested that ordinary people who were killed during the riots but did not play a role in them be designated as “martyrs.”
It also suggested sympathizing with and paying blood money to the relatives of those killed in the riots.
Regarding the situation of those who lost their lives during armed clashes with security forces, it was proposed that after investigations into the background of their families, the respectable ones be separated from those who were involved in criminal acts and the families of those victims who were not involved in criminal activities be condoled.
The Leader urged the body to immediately carry out the proposed measures but called on the authorities to show “Islamic mercy” towards those suspected to have been involved in the developments.
Rouhani calls for release of innocent protesters
Separately on Wednesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called for the release of innocent people or those who committed misdemeanors.
“Of all those arrested, some are innocent and should be released … For example if someone committed an offense torching a tire, this is not a crime to me although he did not do a right thing. But we should not detain them. A youth has … shouted a slogan. We should not be strict,” he said during the insurance conference in the capital of Tehran.
He, however, stressed that those who carried weapons or committed crimes and those who came to the scene in an organized manner should be dealt with according to the law.
“Those who committed misdemeanors should be treated with Islamic clemency,” he added.
Iran says many of the rioters were found to have links to the notorious US-backed Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terror group, separatists besides members of organized groups trained towards staging acts of sabotage.
The Iranian Judiciary says around 300 individuals currently remain in custody over their suspected involvement in the deadly riots.
Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, the Judiciary’s spokesman, said Tuesday that those detainees who are found to have been among “saboteurs” will face imminent prosecution, while the rest will be released as soon as possible.