Iran clashes
Iran clashes Reuters

Iran vowed on Sunday to severely punish "mercenaries" arrested over a wave of street unrest sparked by a fuel price hike.

Authorities said calm has been restored and announced plans to hold a pro-government demonstration to condemn the "rioters" at Tehran's Enghelab Square on Monday afternoon, reported AFP.

The unrest erupted on November 15, hours after it was announced that the price of gas would rise to 15,000 rials per liter (12 US cents) from 10,000 for the first 60 liters, and to 30,000 rials for any extra fuel bought after that each month.

Amnesty International said it had documented at least 106 deaths of protesters killed by security forces, making it the worst street unrest in Iran in at least a decade and possibly since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran has blamed “thugs” linked to exiles and foreign foes - the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia - for stirring up unrest following hikes in gasoline prices.

On Saturday, Iranian Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri warned regional countries of “dire consequences” if it is proven that they meddled to stoke unrest in Iran.

Citing law enforcement officials, Iran’s Fars news agency said on Sunday that 180 ringleaders had been arrested over the street violence.

"We have arrested all stooges and mercenaries who have explicitly made confessions that they have been mercenaries of America, of Monafeghin and others," said Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi, deputy commander in chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Monafeghin is a term Iran uses to refer to the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) opposition in exile group, which it considers a "terrorist" cult.

Fadavi said about protest leaders that "we have arrested all of them and, God willing, the judiciary will give them maximum punishments".

"We will certainly respond in accordance to the viciousness carried out by them," he added.