11 dead as Iran witnesses fresh protests overnight

AFP
Tuesday, 2 January 2018

At least 11 people have died in Iran during five days of anti-government street protests that President Hassan Rouhani blamed on interference by foreign powers, media reported on Tuesday.

Tehran: At least 11 people have died in Iran during five days of anti-government street protests that President Hassan Rouhani blamed on interference by foreign powers, media reported on Tuesday.

A policeman was killed in a shootout at one of the protests in the city of Nayaf Abad, in Isfahan province, the local Tasnim news agency reported, bringing the death toll so far to 11.

Three other officers were wounded by gunfire from one of the protesters on the fifth consecutive day of demonstrations against President Rouhani’s economic policy, the same source said.

Another 300 people have been arrested at the various protests, which do not appear to be dying down despite Rouhani’s calls for calm and the fact that the authorities have cut off public access to the social networks to try and prevent new demonstrations.

Iranian law punishes any demonstrations considered to be “contrary to the management of the country and its political institutions and to domestic and foreign policy.”

In addition to shouting slogans against Iran, Rouhani and the country’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, the protesters have also set fire to trash containers and have broken the windows of some bank branches.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry reported on Monday that its agents have identified and arrested several key figures behind the recent disturbances at anti-government protest demonstrations over the past five days.

The ministry added that other suspects are being sought and will soon be arrested and treated severely.

Rouhani said Iran’s enemies sought to incite Iranians to protest and had been outspoken in their desire to take revenge on Tehran for signing the 2015 nuclear agreement and its involvement in the Syrian conflict, in which Iran has backed forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

“To deal with Iran’s success in various fields, the enemies have outspokenly said that they would shift the problem to Tehran, which is their own message and has nothing to do with our analysis,” Rouhani said in statements published by the official IRNA news agency.

Speaking to a group of parliamentarians, Rouhani said his government has had many successes, such as the agreement to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program reached in 2015 with six major world powers, and its role in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. 

‘450 people held over 3 days’
Tehran (AFP): Some 450 people have been arrested in the Iranian capital over the past three days during unrest linked to protests, an official told local media on Tuesday. “200 people were arrested on Saturday, 150 on Sunday and around 100 yesterday,” Ali-Asghar Naserbakht, a deputy in the Tehran city governor’s office, told the reformist-linked ILNA news agency. Protests have been relatively small in Tehran compared with many parts of the country since the unrest began last Thursday. 

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