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Ten dead in riots in Iran despite Rohani’s call for calm

Ⓒ Presidencia iraní/AFP – HO – | Iranian President Hasan Rohani at the Council of Ministers in Tehran on December 31, 2017

At least ten people died in recent hours in Iran despite President Hasan Rohani’s call for calm after several days of protests against hunger and power.

For the fourth consecutive night, the Iranians took to the streets on Sunday in several cities of the country, including the capital, Tehran, to protest against power and economic difficulties, unemployment, scarcity and corruption.

According to videos broadcast by Iranian media and social networks, protesters attacked and set fire to public buildings, religious centers and banks or headquarters of the Bassidj (Islamic militia of the regime). Protesters also burned police vehicles.

Anti-government demonstrations erupted in Mashhad (northeast) last Thursday and then spread throughout the country.

“The people will respond to the troublemakers and those who break the law,” which are a “small minority,” President Hasan Rohani said on Monday, according to the website of the Iranian presidency.

Two protesters died on Sunday night in the protests in the city of Izeh, in southwestern Iran, according to local deputy Hedayatolá Jademi, quoted by the Ilna news agency, close to the reformers.

“Inhabitants of Izeh demonstrated as in other parts of the country against the economic difficulties, unfortunately, two people died and others were injured (…) I do not know if the shots came from the forces of order or from demonstrators,” Jademi declared. .

Two other people died Sunday afternoon in Dorud, in an incident indirectly linked to the protests, when protesters seized a fire truck and threw it down a slope.

In his descent he hit a vehicle and two people inside were killed, the governor of the city told state television.

Ⓒ AFP – Gal ROMA – | Hasan Rohani

Two other people died on Saturday in the same city in western Iran, but the provincial deputy governor said the security forces did not fire at the demonstrators.

Iranian public television announced on Monday that six people died in the small western city of Tuyserkan, which increases to ten the total death toll from demonstrations in the last hours.

The six people were killed by “suspicious shots” in Tuyserkan.

– Right to manifest –

The demonstrations continued on Sunday night despite authorities limiting access to social networks and blocked Telegram and Instagram, used to convene a demonstration.

After three days of protests, Rohani acknowledged that Iran must open “a space” for the population to express their “daily concerns,” but condemned the acts of violence and the destruction of public property.

“Criticism is different from using violence,” he stressed in the council of ministers. “We have to propitiate the conditions for criticism, legal protests, even demonstrations and legal meetings, it is the right of the people.”

Rohani, elected to a second term last May, facilitated Iran’s exit from its isolation, with the lifting of international sanctions imposed for its nuclear activities.

Ⓒ AFP – STR – | An Iranian woman raises her fist in the middle of a tear gas cloud at the University of Tehran on December 30, 2017

This lifting of sanctions – with the signing of a historic agreement with the big powers on the Iranian nuclear program – augured an improvement in the bad economic situation but the fruits of the agreement are made to wait.

So far the demonstrations – the most important since the protest movement against the re-election of former ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, violently repressed – have been characterized by clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement and attacks on public goods.

– More than 400 arrests –

According to the Lieutenant Governor of Lorestan province (west) there were riots in the cities of Nurabad, Dorud and Joramabad and several “agitators” were arrested.

There were also small demonstrations in Kermanshah (west), Shahinshahr (near Isfahan), Takestán (north), Zanján (north), Toyeserkán (west) and Nahavand where, according to videos broadcast by networks, public buildings, banks or headquarters of Bassidj (Islamic militia) were attacked.

In Tehran, the police used tear gas and water to disperse the small group of protesters who launched slogans hostile to power in the university neighborhood.

In the capital, 200 people were arrested. Another 200 people were arrested in provincial towns, according to the press.

Attacking again the Iranian government, the United States, supported “the right of the Iranian people to express themselves in a peaceful manner and be heard.”

Iran denounced on its part the interference of the United States in its affairs.

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