Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Everything you need to know about the protests rocking Iran

Everything you need to know about the protests rocking Iran

Erdogan's comments came after almost a week of protests in Iran marked by deadly violence and hundreds of arrests.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Iran's foes of fomenting the unrest, which began as protests about economic hardship and corruption but have grown into political rallies, some of which have criticized him by name.

"Today we can announce the end of the sedition", said Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Revolutionary Guards.

But the show of strength is unlikely to defuse the tensions underpinning the protests, which have centered in provincial areas that have always been a conservative stronghold. While these elites benefit, the youth unemployment rate is 24 percent.

The messaging app Telegram, which supports encrypted chats, has more than 40 million active Iranian users.

Iran also violently suppressed the 2009 mass protests that followed the disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a crackdown that saw thousands detained, dozens killed and others tortured. Below is a timeline of the recent demonstrations.

The government's main challenge is to find a way to suppress the protests without provoking more anger as demonstrators attack police stations, banks and mosques.

Their movement has so far lacked any apparent leadership and clear demands.

He also told VOA the Iranian government has to be held accountable for its actions.

"The European position is certainly less advantageous in terms of public opinion, but it is wiser", said Francois Nicoullaud, a former French ambassador to Iran. "Elites should be anxious that they have a diminishing social base for legitimacy".

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
Trump to Iran: 'The world is watching!'

Rouhani pushed back on Trump's remarks, saying the United States president had no right to sympathize with protesters because he "called the Iranian nation terrorists a few months ago".

Now, the backlash. For days, protesters have surged into the streets in the most impressive numbers since the Green Movement in 2009.

Iran is an OPEC oil producer and regional power deeply involved in Syria and Iraq as part of a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia, foreign interventions resented by many Iranians who want their leaders to pour more resources into cutting youth unemployment, which reached 29 percent a year ago. Unrest in Iranian cities is the latest case in point. In recent months, some provincial cities have also witnessed protests over lost savings and deposits in illicit credit institutions. Vice-President Mike Pence said on Wednesday the USA wants an agreement lasting longer. "And now they're deeply angry and they've given up on everyone".

At the same time, the Trump administration acknowledged the speed and breadth of the protests took both it and the Iranian government by surprise. Other Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, have also insisted that citizens are entitled to protest - and it appeared to be those assurances that Mogherini was referring to in her statement.

"We're looking at something new, something we haven't seen in Iran since the Islamic Revolution", the official said, adding that the novelty of the protests is making it hard for USA officials to predict where they will lead.

Shine added that the economic problems will get much worse if US President Donald Trump does ultimately decide to snap-back nuclear sanctions on Tehran, as even some of the foreign deals that Iran has signed could become frozen.

"We believe that the Western media propaganda are against us and have become accustomed to the same old, interventionist statements by people like Trump and Netanyahu", Erdoğan said, referring to the performance of Western media and statements by senior USA officials and the Zionist Regime in promoting the unrest in Iran.

Keep an eye on the Veep's twitter account in the coming days.

IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO, in a letter to the U.N. secretary-general: "Against the backdrop of continuous attempts by previous US administrations to disrupt the course of normal political, social and cultural life in Iran in the past decades, starting with the coup against Iran's democratically elected prime minister in 1953, the current USA administration has crossed every limit in flouting rules and principles of worldwide law governing the civilized conduct of global relations".

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