Hundreds of banks and govt sites torched in unrest: Iran minister, Latest World News - The New Paper

Hundreds of banks and govt sites torched in unrest: Iran minister

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GENEVA : Around 731 banks and 140 government sites were torched in recent unrest in Iran, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said in remarks published by the official IRNA news agency yesterday.

More than 50 bases used by security forces were attacked and about 70 gas stations were also burned, he said.

According to IRNA, Mr Rahmani Fazli also said that up to 200,000 people took part nationwide in the unrest that began on Nov 15 after the announcement of gasoline price hikes.

Amnesty International said on Monday that it had recorded at least 143 protesters killed in the worst anti-government unrest in Iran since the authorities put down the Green Revolution demonstrations against election fraud in 2009.

Iran has rejected Amnesty's death toll. It said several people, including members of the security forces, were killed and more than 1,000 people arrested.

The Centre for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based advocacy group, said the number of arrests was closer to 4,000.

The protests turned political, with protesters calling on top leaders to step down. The government has blamed "thugs" linked to exiles and the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia for the unrest.

The protests came as new US sanctions imposed this year cut off nearly all of Iran's oil exports, and as similar protest movements erupted in Iraq and Lebanon. - REUTERS