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Protests turn political in Iran as rallies spread

Public Policy

Demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans in several cities across Iran on Friday, Iranian news agencies and social media reports said, as price protests turned into the largest wave of demonstrations since nationwide pro-reform unrest in 2009.

Police dispersed anti-government demonstrators in the western city of Kermanshah as protests spread to Tehran and several other cities a day after rallies in the northeast, the semi-official news agency Fars said.

The outbreak of unrest reflects growing discontent over rising prices and alleged corruption, as well as concern about the Islamic Republic’s costly involvement in regional conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq.

An official said a few protesters had been arrested in Tehran, and footage posted on social media showed a heavy police presence in the capital and some other cities.


Washington criticized the arrests. ”The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.

About 300 demonstrators gathered in Kermanshah after what Fars said was a “call by the anti-revolution”. They shouted: “Political prisoners should be freed” and “Freedom or death”, and some public property was destroyed. Fars did not name any opposition groups.

The protests in Kermanshah, the main city in a region where an earthquake killed over 600 people in November, took place a day after hundreds rallied in Iran’s second largest city Mashhad to protest at high prices and shout anti-government slogans.

Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators yelling, “The people are begging, the clerics act like God”.

Fars said there were protests in the cities of Sari and Rasht in the north, Qazvin west of Tehran and Qom south of the capital, and also in Hamadan in western Iran. It said many marchers who wanted to raise economic demands left the rallies after demonstrators shouted political slogans.


State television said annual nationwide rallies and events were scheduled for Saturday to commemorate pro-government demonstrations held in 2009 to counter protests by reformists.

The Revolutionary Guards, which along with its Basij militia spearheaded a crackdown against the protesters in 2009, said in a statement carried by state media that there were efforts to repeat that year’s unrest but added: “The Iranian nation … will not allow the country to be hurt.”

Mohsen Nasj Hamadani, deputy security chief in Tehran province, said about 50 people had rallied in a square but most had left after being asked to by police, while a few who refused were “temporarily detained”, the ILNA news agency reported.

In the central city of Isfahan, a resident said protesters had joined a rally held by factory workers demanding back-pay.

“The slogans quickly changed from the economy to those against (President Hassan) Rouhani and the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei),” the resident said by telephone.

In Qom, a stronghold of the Shi‘ite clergy, footage posted on social media showed protesters attacking Ayatollah Khamenei by name. “Seyyed Ali should be ashamed and leave the country alone,” they chanted.

Protests were held also in the town of Quchan near the Turkmen border, and in Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province, social media and Iranian news websites reported.

Police arrested 52 people in Thursday’s protests, Fars quoted a judicial official as saying in Mashhad, one of the holiest places in Shi‘ite Islam.

In social media footage, which could not be authenticated, riot police were seen using water cannon and tear gas to disperse crowds.

Openly political protests are rare in Iran, where security services are omnipresent.

The last unrest of national significance occurred in 2009 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election as president ignited eight months of street protests. Pro-reform rivals said the vote was rigged.

However, demonstrations are often held by workers over lay-offs or non-payment of salaries and by people who hold deposits in non-regulated, bankrupt financial institutions.

Prominent conservative cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda called earlier for tough action against the protests.

“If the security and law enforcement agencies leave the rioters to themselves, enemies will publish films and pictures in their media and say that the Islamic Republic system has lost its revolutionary base in Mashhad,” the state news agency IRNA quoted Alamolhoda as saying.


Some social media videos showed demonstrators chanting “Death to Rouhani” and “Death to the dictator”. Protests were also held in at least two other northeastern cities.

Alamolhoda, the representative of Ayatollah Khamenei in Mashhad, said a few people had taken advantage of Thursday’s protests against rising prices to chant slogans against Iran’s role in regional conflicts.

Tehran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war, Shi‘ite militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group.

“Some people had come to express their demands, but suddenly, in a crowd of hundreds, a small group that did not exceed 50 shouted deviant and horrendous slogans such as ‘Let go of Palestine’, ‘Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I’d give my life (only) for Iran’,” Alamolhoda said.

Social media videos also showed demonstrators chanting ”Leave Syria, think about us”, criticizing Iran’s military and financial support for Assad.

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, suggested that hardline conservative opponents of the pragmatist president might have triggered the protests but lost control of them. “Those who are behind such events will burn their own fingers,” IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying.

Rouhani’s leading achievement, a 2015 deal with world powers that curbed Iran’s disputed nuclear program in return for a lifting of most international sanctions, has yet to bring the broad economic benefits the government says are coming.

Unemployment stood at 12.4 percent in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, up 1.4 percent from the previous year. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million.


15 Comments on "Protests turn political in Iran as rallies spread"

  1. Cloggie on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 2:26 am

  2. fmr-paultard on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 2:33 am 

    the clerics are in trouble. they’re about to be killed. their religion is for fighting which means it favors men. this is like SENTAPBs being agaisnt women. it makes for very unstable society. same thing as china

  3. Cloggie on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 4:33 pm

    That was already absolutely clear that it was Washington that had organized the regime change in Kiev. Just like the failed one in Syria. But always nice to get this kind of insider confirmation. Nobody has any illussions about the cancer that is going to be cut from the planetary flesh. WW3. Eurasia. Anglosphere.

    9/11. JFK. Syria. Holocaust. Iraq. WW2. Kiev. Fed. Tonkin. Libya.

    And the list goes on and on.

  4. MASTERMIND on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 4:38 pm 

    Iran has one stupid protest and the entire western media goes bat shit insane. Because they want to paint the Iran’s government as being the “Bad Guys”..Iran publishes more science papers than Israel every year. By far the most in the entire middle east. And they have offered free birth control since the 1980’s. That is why you dont hear about migrant problems coming out of their country. And they have a democratically elected president. Not a dictator. The US and its European allies hate Iran because they wont allow western oil companies into their country to produce their oil reserves. Just like Saddam in Iraq wouldn’t either.

  5. Cloggie on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 4:39 pm 

    Iran acuses US of being behind recent protests:

  6. MASTERMIND on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 4:39 pm 

    Dont forget it was the terrorist US government who over threw their democratically elected government in the past. Which ushered in a far right radical Islamic government!

  7. Cloggie on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 4:44 pm 

    “The US and its European allies hate Iran because they wont allow western oil companies into their country to produce their oil reserves.”

    Europe had no issues with Iran and supports the Obama deal. Only the US opposes Iran, because they escaped from the empire after the Shah.

    The Shah was a smart man and knew precisely who runs the US and said so openly:

  8. MASTERMIND on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 4:47 pm 


    They didn’t accuse the US of being behind the protest. Did you even read the article you posted you idiot. Stop exaggerating everything. Geez you have a serious problem with that. Whether it be renewable s or Iranian and US politics.

  9. MASTERMIND on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 4:49 pm 


    Wow a Muslim countries leader was an anti Semite? You are an idiot. Dude stop hating on the jews just because many of them are smart and rich and powerful..Not all of course. You are just a loser who wants to scapegoat others for your own failures in life. Be a man not a bitch! Grow up and get a job and move out of your moms basement.

  10. Cloggie on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 5:09 pm 

    So you are blaming me for the things the Shah says? You are an even greater fool as I feared.

    “Wow a Muslim countries leader was an anti Semite?”

    Why? For stating the obvious? America is a kosher colony for 100 years now for the simple reason that the under classes of Europe (I mean you) were unable to generate an elite strong enough to withstand them. Huddled Masses Inc. Russians same story. And they used the stupid, brutal US and Soviet goy to fetch the main prize for them: Europe.

    But that was 1945. Now is 2017. Now the time has arrived for some major score settlements.

    1300 million Chinese
    440 million EU minus UK
    200 million Slaves

    300 million or so Anglos led by the nose by 7 million youknowwhose and divided to the core.

    There is no benevolent God. The cameras will be gone and the drama of WW3 will begin and will lead to the complete dismemberment of Anglosphere and there is nothing you can do about it other than fleeing to the Ps, Canadian sticks or Italy. Downunder will fall to China. And the end game will take place on North-American soil.

  11. Davy on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 5:12 pm 

    “9/11. JFK. Syria. Holocaust. Iraq. WW2. Kiev. Fed. Tonkin. Libya. And the list goes on and on.”

    Rich and prosperous Europe and Anglosphere is also on the list. The Dutch guy is bitching and moaning but his life is affluent and part of that is due to the American century. His problem is his Nazi pride. Much bad has happened by the hands of the Americans and allies but there is more to the story.

  12. Davy on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 5:16 pm 

    Gaillist neurosis:

    But that was 1945. Now is 2017. Now the time has arrived for some major score settlements.
    1300 million Chinese
    440 million EU minus UK
    200 million Slaves
    300 million or so Anglos led by the nose by 7 million youknowwhose and divided to the core.

    rotten to the core Nazi racist

  13. MASTERMIND on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 5:50 pm 


    Look I have found the Clogg Starter Pack

    Keep in mind Davy the reason clogg loves the Nazi’s is he is taking out his hatred of the economic system on the Jews. Because he believes they country it..Even though they do not. If he were a success full person he wouldn’t hate anyone. He would care less what other people did. That is why far right people are so nasty. They want everyone to feel the horrible way they do..Misery loves company. I feel bad for clogg he will never get laid the way he is headed. And scoiety is going to collapse all around him in the next decade and he will never get to see a world powered by renewable’s.

  14. tahoe1780 on Sat, 30th Dec 2017 7:25 pm 

    “In October a CATO Institute paper analyzed (and rejected) several options for U.S. handling Iran. Under Option Three: “Regime Change from Within” it noted:

    In this approach, the United States would pressure the Iranian regime and simultaneously back groups that oppose it-whether the exiled extremist National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), pro-democracy Green Revolution factions, or ethnic minorities within Iran-a strategy advocates often compare to Reagan’s support for civil society groups in the Soviet Union.

    [A] proponent of “coerced democratization,” the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz, urged President Trump to “go on the offensive against the Iranian regime” by “weakening the Iranian regime’s finances” through “massive economic sanctions,” while also “undermin[ing] Iran’s rulers by strengthening pro-democracy forces” inside Iran. This option appears to be gaining traction in the Trump administration’s ongoing Iran policy review and has received public support from Tillerson. CIA Director Mike Pompeo also favored such an approach during his time in Congress.
    The MEK/NCRI noted that Senator Tom Cotton, who will likely replace CIA chief Pompeo when Pompeo moves to the State Department, issued a supportive statement for the protests.”

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