Thousands of Iranians are on their third day of protests across the nation with the government throwing 1,200 pro-government rallies in response on Saturday.
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.
The scenes of resistance and defiance against Iran security forces in city of Rasht are amazing. People in street with their kids. pic.twitter.com/27Xpgv1CPM
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) December 29, 2017
Videos are emerging on Twitter just like in 2009.
Protest this evening in Shiraz, Iran. “The mullah must get lost.” pic.twitter.com/1FPE2gdl7I
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) December 29, 2017
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.
Look at this, from Iran’s Lorestan. Young, unemployed, angry and leaderless rural youth taking to the streets against corrupt and incompetent regime. Seem to be chanting, “Death to you!” pic.twitter.com/SIZafs7tR5
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) December 30, 2017
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,
The Iranian Muslims protesting in Iran are all Islamophobes for not wanting an Islamic government. 😀
— Imam Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) December 30, 2017
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.
باور کنیم که کشور با مشکلات جدی در زمینه بیکاری، گرانی، فساد، محیط زیست، کم آبی، فاصله طبقاتی، توزیع نامتوازن بودجه رنج می برد و مردم حق دارند که صدایشان با وضوح بالا شنیده شود.
— hesam ashena (@hesamodin1) December 29, 2017
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”
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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
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.