Iran's top elite forces commander, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) chief Gen. Hossein Salami, issued a public threat Monday before a large crowd, vowing to destroy the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel if they cross Tehran’s “red lines”.
“We announce to the United States, Britain, Israel, and Saudi Arabia that you experienced us in the field and received strong slaps,” said Gen. Salami, adding: “If you cross our red lines, we will destroy you.”
“We will not leave any move unanswered,” he warned, and said that if Iran decides to respond, “the enemy will not have security anywhere, our patience has a limit.” The speech is being widely viewed as Tehran's 'victory lap' of sorts after anti-government protests across a hundred cities have been largely quelled.
He was addressing a mass pro-government rally at a moment that dozens of such 'counter-protests' were held across the country, in answer to the anti-fuel hike and anti-government protests which have gripped the country over the past two weeks.
State media featured the large government-supportive demonstrations in multiple cities early this week, seeking to underscore the Islamic Republic's leadership has emerged 'victorious' after quashing the mainstay of the prior anti-government rallies.
Footage showed protesters burning the American flag and chanting slogans which blamed the external interference of the US and Israel, and "seditious" elements for the Islamic Republic's current unrest, which had included a week of a total internet blackout ordered by authorities in Tehran.
As of November 24, global internet monitoring group NetBlocks said that “basic connectivity is returning, but many users now face a filternet that restricts access to the outside world.”
Meanwhile, a new report by Amnesty International issued simultaneous to Gen. Salami's fiery Monday speech counted at least 143 killed in protests since Nov. 15. Tehran has rejected those numbers while asserting that it was armed elements among demonstrators who attacked police.
The Amnesty report also claimed “clear evidence” that Iranian security forces used live ammo on unarmed civilian demonstrators. This after unverified social media videos emerged last week appearing to show live fire being used by police to disperse crowds.
Though anti-regime protests do appear to lack in size after fierce clashes with police in the past days, evidence continues to emerge that they are still ongoing in many places.