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Iran blocks internet in totalitarian crackdown on third day of protests; reports; Trump comes out strong

Iran protests, December 2017 (NCRI/Twitter)
December 30, 2017

As the third day of pro-freedom, anti-government protests swept across Iran, 1,200 pro-government rallies planned by the government popped up to support the government agenda and propaganda.

The pro-government rallies were just one tool used by the totalitarian, terror-sponsoring regime to try to suppress the uprisings.

The Iranian government also used the police, banned media from reporting on the protests and has now moved to shut off the internet to disable communication between the pro-freedom protestors according to reports from within Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump added more onto his initial comments from earlier in the day by tweeting out clips from his U.N. speech calling out Iran.

There have also been reports of police opening fire on crowds and killing protestors.

AFP, which has been at the forefront of reporting on the ground in Iran, reported:

Demonstrators attacked a town hall in the Iranian capital Saturday as protests spilled into a third night despite government warnings against any further “illegal gatherings” and moves to cut off the internet on mobiles.

Unverified videos on social media appeared to show thousands marching through the western cities of Khorramabad, Zanjan and Ahvaz, while reports spread rapidly that several people had been shot dead by police in the town of Dorud.

A swirl of wild rumours, combined with travel restrictions and a near-total media blackout from official agencies, made it difficult to confirm the reports.

The authorities appeared to respond by cutting internet access to mobile phones, with the main networks interrupted at least in Tehran shortly before midnight, AFP reporters said.

Several Iranian news agencies warned Telegram, the most popular social media service in the country, might soon be shut down after communications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi accused one popular channel, Amadnews, of encouraging an “armed uprising”.

Meanwhile, the conservative Mehr news agency posted videos of protesters attacking a town hall in central Tehran, overturning a police car and burning the Iranian flag.

In 2009 the protests initially mostly about election fraud and the outspoken President Ahmadinejad, not the Islamic Republic as a whole. In 2017 the entirety of the regime is being challenged.

The anti-government rallies initially were protesting against a dramatic surge in prices of common grocery items like bread, eggs and meat but now have to spread to protesting the hardline, theocratic Islamic regime as a whole.

Videos are emerging on Twitter just like in 2009.

The protests started Thursday in Iran’s second largest city, Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city and one of Iran’s holiest places, then spread.

The government has come out hard against the protestors by scheduling 1,200 “pro-government” rallies, arrests and police crackdowns including water canons and telling news agencies not to cover the anti-government protests.

AFP is reporting that “state news channel IRINN said it had been banned from covering the protests that spread from second city Mashhad on Thursday to hit several towns and cities.”

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said, “We urge all those who receive these calls to protest not to participate in these illegal gatherings as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens.”

Other Iranian officials are blaming the democratic west as behind the protests but failed to produce any proof other than to create a boogeyman which the Iran government constantly does as part of their propaganda campaigns.

“The enemy wants once again to create a new plot and use social media and economic issues to foment a new sedition,” Ayatollah Mohsen Araki told a crowd in Tehran, according to the conservative Fars news agency and AFP.

Others are mocking the west’s political correctness,

These are the biggest waves of protests since the nationwide protests in 2009 that the world watched through Twitter.

“We believe that a country with serious problems in the areas of unemployment, inflation, corruption, environment, social distance, dehydration, unbalanced distribution of the funds offered [government money spent], and the people have the right to be heard by the high resolution.” wrote Hesam Ashena, cultural adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, on Twitter.

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned Iran that the “world is watching” in his own tweet saying “Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests”

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted by Iranians state media as saying in response to U.S. President Trump: “The Iranian people see no value in the opportunistic claims by American officials and Mr. Trump.”

State broadcaster IRIB website also reportedly stated “Enemy websites and foreign media continue to try to exploit economic hardships and the legitimate demands of the people in this respect to launch illegal gatherings and possible unrest.”

The Revolutionary Guards which led the crackdown against protesters in 2009, said in a statement: “The Iranian nation … will not allow the country to be hurt.”

Openly political protests are rare in Iran where government security forces keep tight watch on its citizens.

The U.S. State Department put out a statement condemning the arrest of peaceful protestors:

We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country. Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.

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.

On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson testified to Congress that he supports “those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.” The Secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people.