A female member of Iran’s parliament has referred to “groups of people who were embedded with demonstrators” just to destroy property during recent anti-government protests.
Paravaneh Salhashouri was replying to a tweet by Mohammad Ali Jafari, the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) who attempted to portray President Hassan Rouhani’s administration as unresponsive to frustrations felt by ordinary Iranians.
During the protests some people attacked banks, gas stations and public buildings setting fire and destroying a lot of property. Citizens have accused unknown elements for systematically attacking property to justify the harsh reaction by IRGC-led forces against protesters.
Salhashouri’s remark about embedded groups who destroyed property is the first time a public official indirectly accuses security and intelligence organs of what some critics have been saying all along.
At least 161 protesters were killed by security forces and more than 7,000 arrested. Many now see the IRGC and its affiliates as the immediate force responsible for repression and opening fire on unarmed protesters.
Even as the crackdown was taking place, IRGC officials compared the protests to a world war, and a defense against a foreign enemy.
In her response, Salhashouri condemns these comparisons and other radical statements by hardliners. She assails statements on state-controlled TV that detained protesters must be tortured by amputating their limbs.