The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Force threatened to destroy Israel, the US and other countries as he addressed a pro-government demonstration denouncing last week’s violent protests over a fuel price hike.
Gen. Hossein Salami, echoing other Iranian officials, accused the US, Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stoking the unrest.
“If you cross our red line, we will destroy you,” he said. “We will not leave any move unanswered.”
“We have shown restraint … we have shown patience towards the hostile moves of America, the Zionist regime (Israel) and Saudi Arabia against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Salami added, according to Reuters.
He said if Iran decides to respond, “the enemy will not have security anywhere,” adding that “our patience has a limit.”
Iran has accused the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia of engineering large protests sparked by a 200 percent jump in the price of gasoline.
Officials said the demonstrations turned violent because of the intervention of “thugs” backed by royalists and Iran’s arch-enemies.
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-US 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.
During the violence, dozens of banks, gas pumps and police stations were torched across the Islamic republic.
Iran has been gripped by an economic crisis since the US restored painful sanctions after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Officials have confirmed five people were killed, but the death toll is thought to be much higher.
The United Nations said it feared that dozens died, while Amnesty International said more than 100 were believed to have been killed.
At a meeting Monday with family members of a security officer who was killed in the violence, Salami vowed that Iran will “take revenge for the security defenders on the US, the UK, Israel and their mercenaries inside Iran,” the official IRNA news agency reported.