By Mustafa Melih Akhsahali
A days-long wave of street demonstrations in Iran has effectively ended, the head of the country's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps said Wednesday.
"Today is the day the sedition ended," Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari declared in comments broadcast on Iranian state television.
According to Jafari, legitimate protests that began last week -- for what he described as "economic reasons" -- had by Friday taken on a rabidly anti-government tone.
"Since Friday, these protests have been hotbeds of sedition," he said.
"But the hypocrites and opponents of the [Iranian] revolution who instigated and took part in the unrest have since been arrested," he added.
Jafari accused the U.S. and Saudi Arabia of being behind the anti-government rallies, which first erupted last Thursday in the Iranian cities of Mashhad and Kashmar.
On Wednesday, thousands of Iranians took part in mass rallies in support of the government in the cities of Abadan, Ahwaz, Kermanshah, Gorgan and Khorramabad.
Since the demonstrations first erupted six days ago, at least 23 people have been killed -- including a police officer -- while hundreds more have reportedly been detained.