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Iran Intelligence Says Most Protesters Were Unemployed Or Low-Income

Protesters blocking a road on the second day of protests in Iran. November 16, 2019

Most of the people who participated in the recent anti-regime demonstrations in Iran were either unemployed or with low-income jobs, several members of parliament (Majles) have cited a report by the Islamic Republic Intelligence Ministry.

The powerful Commission for National Security Affairs and Foreign Policy of Majles held a closed-door session on Monday, November 25, attended by the representatives of the Islamic Republic intelligence entities.

The spokesman of the influential commission, Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, disclosed that the representative of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Intelligence Organization warned on Monday that the recent protests were not the last of their kind, and similar uprisings could happen again in the future.

During the unrest last week, observers also said that protests were more frequent and intense in poorer areas and small towns with less economic opportunity for younger people.

Naqavi Hosseini also quoted the unnamed IRGC representative as saying, "Different intelligence institutions of the Islamic Republic had earlier warned against increasing gasoline prices."

They had insisted that the time was not ripe for the three-fold price hike, Naqavi Hosseini said, adding, "Nevertheless, they relented to the decision taken by the Supreme National Security Council."

SNSC, the Supreme National Security Council, is headed by the incumbent President, Hassan Rouhani, decided on November 14 to substantially raise its subsidized fuel prices, including gasoline, which has been partially rationed and now offered in a two-tier pricing system.

The decision almost immediately triggered a series of protests that soon spread to more than 100 cities across Iran.

In the report to Majles on Monday, the representative of the Intelligence Ministry also confirmed that the majority of the protesters currently behind bars are either unemployed or with a low-income job.

Based on the information collected by Radio Farda, at least 4,800 have been detained during the uprising in different provinces of Iran. In its latest estimate, Amnesty International said Monday that at least 143 protesters were killed when security forces used deadly fire on demonstrators.

The government has not released any official report on casualties or the number of detainees.

Meanwhile, Naqavi Hosseini cited intelligence agents as reminding parliament that the Ministry of Intelligence had warned about a "security crisis" a year before the recent protests and reported its detailed findings to the Interior Ministry.

In the meantime, the chairman of the Islamic City Council of Rey, south of the capital Tehran disclosed on Monday that the detainees in the ancient city's prison were in a grave condition.

"Fashafouyeh prison, or the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary (GTCP), is devoid of the conditions needed to keep so many inmates," Khalilabadi noted.

An outspoken lawyer and former member of parliament, Qassem Sholeh Sa'adi, who has experienced imprisonment in the GTCP, says, the condition at the detention center is "disastrous."

The Islamic Republic authorities initially built the GTCP as a concentration camp for drug-related convicts. However, intelligence agents often punish political prisoners and prisoners of conscience by exiling them there.

There have been numerous reports about inhumane living conditions at the prison, Iran Human Rights Monitor (IHRM) reported on June 11.