Iran's religious leadership backs legitimate demands of people

by Garry Watts January 2, 2018, 3:15
Iran's religious leadership backs legitimate demands of people

In the biggest challenge to Tehran since 2009, protests across the country continued for a third day.

According to the Times, witnesses said some groups of protesters have chanted "death to the dictator" and "clerics should get lost", supposed references to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

State media have now begun broadcasting some footage on the protests, though it focused on young men attacking banks and vehicles or burning the Iranian flag, reported AFP news agency.

In 2009, Iran saw eight months of civil unrest when tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi on December 31, admitted that a number of Iranian protesters have been arrested and they would face heavy punishment.

It said two people were killed and six wounded.

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That improvement has reached the average Iranian, however unemployment remains high. A recent increase in egg and poultry prices by as much as 40 per cent, which a government spokesman has blamed on a cull over avian flu fears, appears to have been the trigger for the protests.

In a post on his Twitter account, U.S. President Donald Trump wrote of his support for the Iranian protesters, saying that the world was watching.

Israel's Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said on Sunday that Iran's "murderous regime", which has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map, will "disappear", while Israel will "exist forever". He stressed that people have the right to express their discontent with the authorities, but called for calm and restraint.

The "temporary" restrictions on the apps Telegram and Instagram were imposed to "maintain tranquillity", state news agency Irib reports. Also, three protesters were reportedly shot dead by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in central Iran on Sunday.

The State Department issued a statement on Friday supporting the protests, referencing Mr Tillerson's earlier comments.

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