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IRGC Says Iran's Antigovernment Protests 'Defeated'

University students attend a protest inside Tehran University on December 30.
University students attend a protest inside Tehran University on December 30.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says antigovernment protests that it blames on foreign instigators have been "defeated."

In a January 7 statement, the IRGC said "Iran's revolutionary people along with tens of thousands of Basij forces, police and the Intelligence Ministry have broken down the chain [of unrest] the United States, Britain," Israel, Saudi Arabia, militants, and monarchists.

The IRGC statement was issued after Iran's parliament held a closed-door session on January 7 to discuss the antigovernment protests that have rocked the country for more than a week.

Called by a reformist faction of lawmakers, the parliamentary session brought together Iran's interior minister, its intelligence agency chief, and the head of Iran's security council to examine the causes of the unrest -- which Iran's government has also blamed on foreigners.

The United States and Israel have expressed support for the protesters, but deny allegations of fomenting them.

Meanwhile, state media on January 7 broadcast live footage of a fifth day of pro-government rallies organized by authorities.

State media has stopped reporting on antigovernment protests.

Credible Reports Of Further Protests

But RFE/RL has received credible reports that protests continued in at least nine cities across Iran on January 6, including Tehran, where social media footage showed gatherings despite a large police presence.

RFE/RL's Radio Farda also obtained credible reports on January 6 from sources in Iran about overnight demonstrations against Iran's clerical rulers in Takestan, Arak, Masjed Soleiman, Mashhad, Qazvin, Rasht, Lahijan, and Khomein, the birthplace of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic.

More than a week of unrest has seen 22 people die and more than 1,700 arrested.​

Various Iranian officials said on January 6 that hundreds of detainees -- including many students and other young people -- had been released, some after agreeing to sign a pledge not to "re-offend," the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.

In a rebuke to Iranian government claims that the widespread demonstrations had been organized and/or instigated by foreigners, a group of 16 prominent reformist figures living in Iran issued a statement rejecting that claim.

In the January 6 statement, the signatories said, "Despite the fact the enemies of the country always try to take advantage of such events, we should know that any kind of foreign interference would not be possible without the existence of internal conditions."

They added that in addition to the government claim of foreign involvement being "an insult" to Iranians, it leads to "negligence toward the real causes of the protests."

The reformist letter also went on to condemn "American interference," especially of President Donald Trump, in the "internal affairs of Iran."

Most of the signatories to the statement are former officials or parliamentarians from the time of President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005).

Iranian émigrés also staged numerous antigovernment demonstrations in front of Iranian embassies around the world during the weekend -- including The Hague, Berlin and Hamburg, Stockholm, London, and Paris.

With reporting by RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari, Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, and Press TV