This is not going away. The people of Iran, yearning to be free, learned brutal and bloody lessons from the crushing putdown of the freedom movement in 2009. Not only do they know how the murdering mullahs will respond, they have the American president and the Israeli Prime Minister at their back.
The Islamic Republic will not put this one down easily – not without a civil war.
— Ali AlAhmed (@AliAlAhmed_en) December 31, 2017
Iranian security forces repel ‘armed protesters’ trying to take over police and military bases
South China Morning Post, 01 January, 2018:
The death toll from anti-government protests erupting across Iran has risen to 15, state television reported on Monday, while officials continue to deny reports of security forces opening fire on demonstrators.
So far nine people have been confirmed in cities in central Iran: six in Tuyserkan and three in Shahinshahr.
Four people have been killed in the city of Dorud and two more in the southwestern city of Izeh.
The protests began on Thursday in Mashhad – apparently over economic issues – and have since expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Although Iranian officials in the last three days tried to peacefully calm down the protesters, more than 400 protesters were reportedly arrested by security forces in Tehran, Mashhad, Kashan, Urmia, Izeh, Dorud and Arak.
“Some armed protesters tried to take over some police stations and military bases but faced serious resistance from security forces,” state television reported. It did not say where those attacks occurred.
State television aired images of burning buildings, as well as an ambulance crew trying to aid a wounded person amid a crowd of shouting people. It also showed a fire truck that appeared to have been attacked and burned.
[An image grab taken from a handout video released by Iran’s Mehr News agency reportedly shows a group of men pushing traffic barriers in a street in Tehran on December 30, 2017. Photo: AFP]
“Amid unrest on Sunday, six people were killed in Tuyserkan and three in Shahinshahr,” one report said.
In separate reports, Mashallah Nemati, governor of Dorud, a city in western Lorestan Province, confirmed reports that two people injured in unrest on Saturday died in a hospital, while on Sunday, an official of Dorud confirmed two other deaths there.
The semi-official ILNA news agency quoted Hedayatollah Khademi, a representative for the town of Izeh, in southwestern Iran, as saying two people died there on Sunday night. He denied police or security forces had any role in the matter.
He said the cause of death wasn’t immediately known. Many in Izeh, some 455km southwest of Tehran, have hunting rifles in their homes.
[An image grab taken from a handout video released by Iran’s Mehr News agency reportedly shows a group of men pulling at a fence in a street in Tehran on December 30, 2017. Photo: AFP]
On Sunday, Iran blocked access to Instagram and the popular messaging app Telegram used by activists to organise.
President Hassan Rowhani acknowledged the public’s anger over the Islamic Republic’s flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government would not hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.
That was echoed Monday by Iranian judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who urged authorities to strongly confront rioters, state television reported.
“I demand all prosecutors across the country to get involved and approach should be strong,” he said.
Larijani said protesters’ behaviour is “unacceptable” and they will face a “decisive punishment” for their illegal activities. “I advise people to separate their way from the rebels” who are acting against common order.
A day after the rally in Mashhad, at which the crowd chanted “Death to Rowhani”, First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri accused hardline rivals of being behind the demonstrations. “The fire which they had set will burn their own fingers,” Jahangiri said.
[An image grab taken from a handout video released by Iran’s Mehr News agency reportedly shows a group of men walking down a street in Tehran on December 30, 2017. Photo: AFP]
Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli said on Sunday the government and parliament are following the people’s wishes and trying to resolve the problems.
“The authorities will definitely punish those who are trying to spread fear in society by violating and breaching the law,” the ministry’s official website quoted Fazli as saying.
In many restive cities on Monday, mobile phones could not access the internet, indicating that the security authorities were tightening controls over information.
US President Donald Trump, who has been tweeting in support of protesters in Iran, continued into the New Year, describing the country as “failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration”.
“The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years,” he wrote. “They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!”
While some have shared Trump’s tweets, many in Iran distrust him as he has refused to re-certify the nuclear deal and his travel bans have blocked Iranians from getting US visas.
Additional reporting by Kyodo and Agence France Presse
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