April 26, 2018

Two Iranian protests shot by police in third day of angry rallies

01 January 2018, 12:51 | Rufus Hill

Two Iranian protests shot by police in third day of angry rallies

Trump on Iran ‘Oppressive regimes cannot last forever

Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), urged President Trump to clarify his strategy on Iran.

The tweet has since been deleted, however. Rohani was reelected in May in part on a promise to guarantee rights to freedom of expression and assembly. There has been heavy police and security presence in restive areas, including scores of anti-riot police clad in black uniforms and helmets. "We have found evidence of enemies of the revolution, Takfiri groups, and foreign agents in this clash", he added later on state television. Security chief Habibollah Khojasteh said that there were signs that members of the Islamic State militia had been involved, according to media reports. At least one of the videos was verified by BBC Persian.

State media also quoted Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli as saying: "Those who damage public property, violate law and order and create unrest are responsible for their actions and should pay the price".

It is the biggest display of dissent since huge pro-reform rallies in 2009.

The protests stem from social media posts and a surge in prices of basic food supplies such as eggs and poultry.

In the town of Abhar in northern Iran, demonstrators have set fire to large banners bearing the picture of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Anti-Iranian government protests continued for the third straight day as men, women, and even children take to the streets against the theocratic state's leaders.

The semi-official Fars news agency said protests on Friday also struck Qom, a city that is the world's foremost center for Shiite Islamic scholarship and home to a major Shiite shrine.

Meanwhile, the conservative Mehr news agency posted videos of protesters attacking a town hall in central Tehran, overturning a police auto and burning the Iranian flag.

"Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down... peacefully protesting channels" Telegram CEO Pavel Durov wrote on Twitter.

"Seyed Ali [Khamenei], shame on you".

In another video from Tehran, protesters appeared to tear down a Khamenei poster. "If I were President Trump, I'd lay out a plan as to how I would engage the regime", Graham said in an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation".

While it's hard to assess the size and level of organization surrounding the protests, what is clear is that a degree of frustration and resentment exists on the Iranian street.

"If we blink, God help us all", he said. "If they plan a gathering, they should apply [for a permit], and it will be examined", he told the Young Journalists Club news website.

The demonstrations appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since its 2009 Green Movement arose after Ahmadinejad's re-election.

"This is more grass-roots".

Many leading advocates of diplomatic engagement with Iran were silent on the latest protests, however.

"The chant of "Leave Syria alone, do something for us" reflects the people's opposition to regime's warmongering in the region".

It has been an eye-opening three days for the government, which has been careful not to provoke the protesters too much. "The Iranian government should respect their people's rights, including their right to express themselves".

"President Trump is tweeting very sympathetically to the Iranian people, but you just can't tweet here. The world is watching!" "As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are Iran's own people".

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's comments in June to Congress saying America is working towards "support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government" has been taken by Iran's government as a sign of foreign interference in its internal politics.

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