TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday voiced regret over the recent deadly clashes in Indian-administered Kashmir, and called on the warring sides to avoid violence.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports any measure which is in line with the Kashmiri nation's interests,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

He further voiced Tehran’s preparedness to take effective steps to ease tensions if asked by both sides.

A security clampdown and a strike sponsored by separatists fighting against Indian rule shut down most of Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday, a day after deadly protests and fierce fighting killed 16 combatants and four civilians.

Media reports said that armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across the region and patrolled streets in anticipation of anti-India protests and clashes.

Authorities also imposed a curfew in some towns in southern Kashmir and in the old parts of the disputed region's main city of Srinagar, the urban center of protests and clashes against Indian rule.

Shops and businesses closed in other areas where no security restrictions were in place.

Authorities shut schools and colleges and canceled university exams in an attempt to stop protests by students. Troops laid steel barricades and razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighborhoods as authorities anticipated widespread protests.

At least 13 Kashmiri rebels and three Indian army soldiers were killed in Sunday's fighting in three gunbattles in southern Kashmir.

As the fighting raged, large anti-India protests erupted in several parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir and at least four civilians were killed and dozens injured.