RNA - Rouhani said enemies thought that the recent riots, sparked by a government decision to increase gasoline prices, would last several months.
However, “People’s [powerful] presence and their clenched fists one again showed [our] national power and frustrated enemies.”
The president made the remarks on Wednesday during an administrative meeting in East Azarbaijan Province.
“The information we have shows how much the enemy had invested in this regard for two years and was trying to carry out its scheme through money, equipment, and propaganda bombardment on the one hand and heavy economic pressures on the other hand,” he added. “Enemies had thought that if a disaster happened, the whole establishment would be done and over with,” but they failed.
The great Iranian nation proved that it will not yield to pressures and foreign plots, Rouhani said, adding that the people may be critical of the government and they are entitled to voice their dissatisfaction.
However, it is not acceptable for certain elements to hijack the protests to undermine security, he said.
The Iranian government raised gasoline prices on November 15 in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum daily domestic requirement.
The move prompted some peaceful protests, but riotous elements, taking advantage of the circumstances, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting banks and gas stations ablaze among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.
According to Press TV, earlier on Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei lauded the Iranian nation’s tremendous victory in thwarting a “dangerous” enemy plot to take advantage of the government's gas price hike as an opportunity to commit acts of violence and vandalism in line with a subversive agenda.
The Leader noted that the enemies had hatched a “profound, extensive, and very dangerous” plot against the country, and were seeking to enact the conspiracy through acts of destruction, homicide, and mischief.
“The issue of gasoline was the opportunity they had in mind, and [therefore] brought their legion into the scene,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “However, the Iranian nation destroyed the enemy’s act in a glorious display [of national presence].”