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White House Urges World-Wide Support for Iran Protesters

Image: White House Urges World-Wide Support for Iran Protesters

By    |   Monday, 01 Jan 2018 08:11 PM

The Trump administration is lobbying countries around the world to support protesters in Iran as violent demonstrations intensify, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

“We are encouraging all nations around the world to publicly condemn the government violence and to support the legitimate, basic rights of those protesting,” Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning, told the outlet.

“We know that the [Islamic revolutionary Guard Corps] plays a big role in the decisions and actions of the government,” he added — and pushed back on the notion that backing the protesters would only give ammunition to the regime.

“It doesn’t matter what we do, they will blame us,” Hook told the Journal. “For us, this is not a complicated question. We want to take a position with moral clarity and let the protesters know they’re not alone.”

Some U.S. allies have already issued their own statements on the protests, including Britain and Germany.

The protests began Thursday over economic issues and have expanded to several cities, with some demonstrators chanting against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The unrest was at its most violent on New Year’s Eve as "armed protesters" tried to overrun military bases and police stations before security forces repelled them, killing 10 people, Iranian state television reported Monday.

The demonstrations, the largest to strike Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, have a total death toll of at least 13. Hundreds have been arrested.

On Sunday, Iran blocked access to Instagram and the popular messaging app Telegram used by activists to organize.

President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the public's anger over the Islamic Republic's flagging economy — warning, however, the government will crack down on anyone considered a lawbreaker. That was echoed Monday by judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, who urged authorities to confront rioters, state TV reported.

"I demand all prosecutors across the country to get involved and the approach should be strong," he said.

Some Iranians have shared President Donald Trump’s tweets supporting the protesters; he’s blasted Iran as "failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama administration."

"The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years," he tweeted Monday.

"They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!"

But others in Iran distrust Trump because he’s refused to re-certify the nuclear deal and his travel bans have blocked Iranians from getting U.S. visas.

Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, the Guard commander and deputy chief of staff for Iran's military, said Monday that Trump's support of the protesters "indicates planning by the U.S. for launching a new sedition in Iran."

Iran's economy has improved since the nuclear deal, which saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the end of some international sanctions. Tehran now sells its oil on the global market and has signed deals to purchase tens of billions of dollars' worth of Western aircraft.

But that improvement hasn’t reached the average Iranian; unemployment remains high, and official inflation has crept up to 10 percent — and a recent increase in egg and poultry prices by as much as 40 percent appears to have been the spark for the protests.

Trump faces a deadline late next week to tell Congress whether the nuclear deal with Iran is in America’s interest. The president is expected to again withhold support for the accord while extending sanctions relief guaranteed under the deal and allowing the agreement to remain in place, the Journal reported.

But the Iranian government’s actions against the protesters could color his deliberations, the Journal reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The Trump administration is lobbying countries around the world to support protesters in Iran as violent demonstrations intensify, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday."We are encouraging all nations around the world to publicly condemn the government violence and to...
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2018-11-01
Monday, 01 Jan 2018 08:11 PM
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