Iran’s Guard threatens US, allies over protests

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FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 file photo, traffic passes a building that was set ablaze during recent protests over government-set gasoline prices rises, in Tehran, Iran. As Iran restores the internet after a weeklong government-imposed shutdown, new videos purport to show the demonstrations over gasoline prices rising and the security-force crackdown that followed. The videos offer only fragments of encounters, but they fill in the larger void left by Iran’s state-controlled television and radio channels. On their airwaves, hard-line officials allege foreign conspiracies and exile groups instigated the unrest that began Nov. 15. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened the U.S. and its allies Monday as he addressed a pro-government demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people denouncing last week’s violent protests over a fuel price hike.

Gen. Hossein Salami, echoing other Iranian officials, accused the U.S., Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stoking the unrest. He said the rise in gasoline prices was a “mere pretext” for an attack on the nation.

“If you cross our red line, we will destroy you,” he said. “We will not leave any move unanswered.” He said if Iran decides to respond, “the enemy will not have security anywhere,” adding that “our patience has a limit.”

Amnesty International says more than 100 people were killed in the protests. Iran has not released a death toll and cut off internet for several days, making it difficult to ascertain the extent and severity of the demonstrations.

At the pro-government rally, which state TV referred to as the “Rise of the people of Tehran against riots,” protesters carried signs bearing traditional anti-U.S. slogans.

But speakers also criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s administration for the way the fuel price hike was implemented, even as they called for capital punishment for rioters and further restrictions on social media platforms.

Iran has been gripped by an economic crisis since the U.S. restored painful sanctions after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal.

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