Nine more dead as violent Iran protests continue over price of food

Saul Bowman
Января 2, 2018

The Iranian state television claimed that security forces repulsed armed protesters who tried to break into police and army headquarters.

The protests erupted last Thursday in Mashhad, Iran's second largest city, and quickly spread to cities nationwide.

The highest-ranking United States official's direct expression of support for rioters in recent protests in Iran and the supportive voices by a number of other governments and Western media outlets reveal that the USA had plans for inciting a sedition inside Iran, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Monday.

"The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years".

He added that it would be a mistake to view the protests as a foreign conspiracy.

A member of the Revolutionary Guards was killed in nearby Kahriz Sang and a passer-by in the town of Kahriz Sang - all in the region around the cultural centre of Isfahan.

President Hassan Rouhani has acknowledged the public's anger over the Islamic Republic's flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn't hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.

Hundreds of people have been arrested, including 450 people arrested in Tehran over three days, according to a report by the semi-official ILNA news agency.

The protests were fanned in part by messages sent on the Telegram messaging app, which authorities blocked on Sunday along with Instagram.

"Those who have rightful demands must be guided in lawful ways and those who riot and commit sabotage and chaos and set fire to public property.must be confronted decisively", said judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani on state TV, adding that "the country must have discipline".

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The EU has also pushed Iran to guarantee the right to protest.

A recent increase in egg and poultry prices by as much as 40%, which the government has blamed on a cull over avian flu fears, appears to have been the spark for the economic protests.

Trump has been a sharp critic of Iran and the nuclear deal the country signed in 2015 with the USA and other world powers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the protesters "brave" and "heroic", said in a video posted to YouTube on Monday that the protesters sought freedom, justice and 'the basic liberties that have been denied to them for decades'.

Reports say authorities in Iran imposed the ban as a security measure during rare anti-government protests over rising cost of food and fuel prices which has gone violent.

"Iran is failing at every level despite the bad deal made with them by the Obama administration", Mr Trump said, referring to the nuclear pact agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama.

He also called on "all concerned to refrain from violence and for worldwide obligations on human rights to be observed".

Elsewhere, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called for Iran to engage in "meaningful debate" about the "legitimate and important" issues raised by the protesters.

That improvement has not reached the average Iranian, however.

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