Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

What's happening with Iran's ongoing protests?

Tear gas appeared to have been fired at protesters at the University of Tehran Image Tear gas appeared to have been fired at protesters at the University of Tehran
Lisa Bryan | 07 January, 2018, 01:31

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported several people have been injured since the protests began Thursday in Iran's second-largest city, Mashhad, on rising prices and financial corruption. "The enemy is always looking for an opportunity and any crevice to infiltrate and strike the Iranian nation". "The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years". While leaderless, these new protests have been fanned in part by an exiled journalist named Roohallah Zam using a mobile phone messaging app called Telegram.

Moderates and reformers led by Rouhani have said people have the right to peacefully protest against economic woes and the government should be open to criticism. Lawmakers in both parties have also expressed support for the protesters. A least one police officer was killed.

Turkish officials on Wednesday said Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told his Turkish counterpart during a phone call that he hopes the protests "will end in a couple of days". Back then, politics was the trigger, as protesters, mostly from middle class backgrounds, demanded the installation of reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi as president.The 2009 uprising was met with brutal violence by the authorities, first and foremost orchestrated by the Basij, a volunteer militia controlled by Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps.

He said the "people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime".

The Trump administration and members of Congress are working on a new set of nuclear-and missile-related Iran sanctions that would replace the 2015 nuclear agreement, Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview.

U.S. secondary sanctions and threats to pull out of the nuclear deal despite Tehran's compliance have contributed to Iran not fully benefiting from the nuclear deal.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, said Mr Trump should focus on "the domestic issues of his own country, such as daily killings of dozens of people. and the existence of millions of homeless and hungry people". Twelve people have been killed in demonstrations, with 10 of the deaths inflicted amid intensifying clashes on Sunday night.


What are the protests about? .

However, the current wave of protests, which started at the end of December, does not fit this pattern, as demonstrations against economic hardship quickly turned into the biggest anti-government protests Iran has witnessed in almost a decade.Hundreds of people took to the streets in the eastern city of Mashhad on December 28, where protesters voiced their anger at rising food prices.

The deaths follow a report by the state broadcaster that two people died in the western town of Dorud overnight when they were hit by a fire engine stolen by protesters.

Some of the early protests in Mashhad reportedly were organized by ultra-hard-line regime supporters opposed to Rouhani, and may have been created to undermine his authority. Some scholars and policy analysts are making an analogy between the recent wave of protests and those that occurred previously, such as the Green Movement in 2009.

The rallies, scheduled weeks earlier, commemorated a mass 2009 pro-government rally challenging those who rejected the re-election of hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad amid fraud allegations. "We should see what the problem is and also what the solution is".

Numerous protest chants are calling for the downfall of the entire Islamic regime, unlike the 2009 protesters who sought to strengthen reformists and work within the system.

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