Supreme leader says Iranians foiled 'very dangerous' plot

Tehran (AFP) –


Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday praised the country's people for foiling a "very dangerous" plot, after violence erupted during protests this month against a fuel price hike.

The demonstrations broke out on November 15, hours after the shock announcement at midnight that the price of petrol would be immediately raised by as much as 200 percent.

They quickly turned violent and saw petrol pumps torched, police stations attacked and shops looted, before being quashed within a few days.

Officials have not yet given overall figures on the number of casualties or arrests made during the unrest which affected much of the country.

"The people foiled a deep, vast and very dangerous conspiracy on which a lot of money was spent for destruction, viciousness and the killing of people," Khamenei said, quoted by state television.

The Iranian leader was speaking at a gathering of the Basij -- a militia loyal to the Islamic republic's establishment.

On Twitter, Khamenei expressed his "heartfelt gratitude and appreciation" to the Iranian nation in a post alongside pictures of a massive pro-government rally held in Tehran on Monday.

"The people proved again that they are powerful and great, and defeated the big conspiracy of the enemy with their presence on the scene," it said.

The tweet blamed the unrest on the "#GlobalArrogance and #Zionism" -- in reference to Iran's arch-enemies the United States and Israel.