The Iranian army issued its strongest warning to nationwide demonstrators furious about the death of a woman arrested by police on Friday, stating that it will "confront the enemies" to maintain security.
Iranians have organised widespread protests in response to the death last week of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was detained by the morality police for wearing "inappropriate clothes."
The army declared that "these desperate measures are a component of the vile adversary agenda to destabilise the Islamic administration."
In order to maintain security and peace for the people who are unfairly attacked, it claimed it would "confront the adversaries' different plans."
Pro-government protests and additional demonstrations were scheduled for Friday, according to Iranian media.
Iranian media described the pro-governmemt marches that will begin after Friday prayers as a “roar of people’s zeal against rioters”.
Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported 1,500 people were killed.
In the latest unrest, protesters in Tehran and other cities have torched police stations and vehicles as outrage over Amini’s death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.
Iranian media have reported the arrest of 280 rioters on Thursday.
Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.
Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history.