Finally, a president who expresses clear support for protesters in Iran

Finally, a president who expresses clear support for protesters in Iran

A fifth night of unrest Monday to Tuesday saw six protesters killed during an attack on a police station in Qahderijan in the central province of Isfahan, state TV said.

Iran is seeing some of its largest protests since the Green Movement that demanded the removal of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. A lawmaker from the provincial city of Shahin Shahr said Wednesday that three protesters who died in a demonstration on New Year's Eve had been shot. Facebook and Twitter were suddenly blocked in the country and hackers started using proxy computers to beat government censors. "We are against foreign interventions in Iran", Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, in remarks quoted by television channel NTV. By contrast, today there is no nationwide political leadership; the origins of the protests are economic and organised on behalf of the growing ranks of the unemployed and marginalised and the demands are unfocused.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed, a prominent Saudi media figure with close ties to the royal court, was more cautious, warning that the region cannot afford more chaos in a column published in English and Arabic on pro-Saudi media websites. "People's expectations were raised by the nuclear deal, but the quality of life hasn't materially improved", Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said in an interview with Isaac Chotiner of Slate. Some commentators caution against reading too much into these slogans. It says Iranian media memorialized child soldiers and hailed Iranian fighters as young as 13 in the Syria battle.

Does that mean there's nothing going on at the White House on this front? "The city is a bastion of clerical ideologues and political hard-liners". Unemployment in Iran is about 12.7 percent, and the cost of basic goods jumped 40 percent in 2017.

"From what we saw in the Arab uprisings", he said, "these kinds of movements that have wide popular appeal but don't have leadership or organisation or a specific mission can create momentum that really goes beyond anything the leadership in the country could expect". The Council will meet on Friday at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) to discuss Iran, Council president Kazakhstan has said. The Iranian president told Erdogan he hoped the protests would be over "in a few days", the source said. The kingdom may be looking to the Trump administration to take the lead, whether through increasing sanctions or action at the United Nations.

Peek, a former military intelligence officer, told the news outlet that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been "tone deaf" in his reaction to the demonstrations. In September 1978, he flew by helicopter over the capital, to see about half a million people denouncing him in the streets. It doesn't help to accuse those who warn of the dangers facing the country of being agents of Iran's enemies. He had under his command Shiite fighters from Hezbollah and Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, as well as Syrian troops and Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

The French president calls for "restraint and appeasement".

Most important of all, Khamenei, whose contrition is more important than anyone else's, seems by temperament unable to accept any errors. The current protests, though, are the first time that economic grievances rose up alongside grievances about governmental power. The common thread, however, is blaming foreigners for all the country's ills.

Demonstrations were sparked after thousands of people took to the streets on Dec. 28 in the northeastern Iranian cities of Mashhad and Kashmar to protest against rising commodity prices and perceived government mismanagement, according to local media reports.

The time and circumstances in which all of this is happening could not be more dangerous. Moscow has criticized Washington's call for the meeting. "Donald Trump and his allies look to benefit from the troubled waters and weaken the peoples whose countries are overflowing with wildly coveted energy resources".

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