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Iranian protesters attack police stations

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Iranian protesters attacked police stations late into the night on Monday, news agency and social media reports said, as security forces struggled to contain the boldest challenge to the clerical leadership since unrest in 2009.

Videos on social media showed an intense clash in the central town of Qahderijan between security forces and protesters who were trying to occupy a police station, which was partially set ablaze. There were unconfirmed reports of several casualties among demonstrators.

In the western city of Kermanshah, protesters set fire to a traffic police post, but no one was hurt in the incident, Mehr news agency said.

Demonstrations continued for a fifth day. Some 13 people were reported killed on Sunday in the worst wave of unrest since crowds took to the streets in 2009 to condemn the re-election of then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The protests have put pressure on the clerical leaders in power since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. President Hassan Rouhani made a televised call for calm on Sunday, saying Iranians had the right to criticise but must not cause unrest.

In the central city of Najafabad, a demonstrator opened fire on police with a hunting rifle, killing one and wounding three others, state television said.

Earlier, state TV said armed demonstrators on Sunday had tried to seize police and military bases but were stopped by"strong resistance from security forces." It gave no further details and there was no independent confirmation.

State TV had reported that 10 people were killed in protests on Sunday. On Monday, that death toll rose when the deputy governor of the western Hamadan Province, Saeed Shahrokhi, told ISNA news agency that another three protesters were killed on Sunday in the city of Tuyserkan.

Hundreds have been arrested, according to officials and social media. Online video showed police in the capital Tehran firing water cannon to disperse demonstrators, in footage said to have been filmed on Sunday.

Protests against economic hardships and alleged corruption erupted in Iran's second city of Mashhad on Thursday and escalated across the country into calls for the religious establishment to step down.

Some of the anger was directed at Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, breaking a taboo surrounding the man who has been supreme leader of Iran since 1989.

Video posted on social media showed crowds of people walking through the streets, some chanting "Death to the dictator!" Reuters was not immediately able to verify the footage. The Fars news agency reported "scattered groups" of protesters in Tehran on Monday and said a ringleader had been arrested.

"The government will show no tolerance for those who damage public property, violate public order and create unrest in society," Rouhani said in his address on Sunday.

Unsigned statements on social media urged Iranians to continue to demonstrate in 50 towns and cities.

The government said it was temporarily restricting access to the Telegram messaging app and Instagram. There were reports that internet mobile access was blocked in some areas.

Iran is a major OPEC oil producer and regional power deeply involved in Syria and Iraq as part of a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia. Many Iranians resent those foreign interventions, and want their leaders to create jobs at home, where youth unemployment reached 28.8 percent last year.

Among reported fatalities, two people were shot dead in the southwestern town of Izeh on Sunday and several others were injured, ILNA news agency quoted a member of parliament as saying.

"I do not know whether yesterday's shooting was done by rally participants or the police and this issue is being investigated," Hedayatollah Khademi was quoted as saying.

Regional governor Mostafa Samali told Fars that only one person was killed in an incident unrelated to the protests, and the suspected shooter had been arrested.

Almost nine years since the "Green movement" reformist protests were crushed by the state, Iran's adversaries voiced their support for the resurgence of anti-government sentiment.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: "The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the "brave Iranians" taking to streets to protest a regime that "wastes tens of billions of dollars spreading hate".

"I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom," he said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged "all sides (to) refrain from violent actions".

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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armed demonstrators on Sunday had tried to seize police and military bases

Looks like the Syria formula is being applied.

The protests are in fact tiny, notice that the western press never provides a count, nor provides any pictures of streetwide rallies, it's always just a few people with their faces covered.

Trump's war with Iran has begun.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

“Big protests in Iran,” President Trump tweeted Sunday. Erdogan of Turkey said yesterday that Trump is a hypocrite! He supports protests in Iran but he never mentioned Palestinian protests against Israeli military occupation of Palestine. Erdogan has a point.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The actual protests are so small NHK had to resort to using a pictures of pro-government rallies for their "protests in Iran" articles.

Look carefully at the pictures the people in the rallies are holding, they are pictures of the Ayatollah.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Looks like the Syria formula is being applied.

Iran is nothing like Syria. The Iran spring of several years ago died on the vine after it was ignored by Obama and Clinton, the only revolution in that area they didn't support. Unlike Syria, there is no strong desire for fundamentalism among young Iranians (though the youth population is quite small, because the regime has destroyed hope and the desire to bring children into the world).

They are sick of a corrupt government, and want to replace it with democracy and human rights. They won't fall into the trap of the last Iranian revolution, where fundamentalists took power and became as abusive as the Shah was. Iran is one of the few areas in the region that has hope if they can shake off their oppressors.

Yes, many young Iranians think the Ayatollah was fine, mainly because they were taught that he was great and had little personal experience under his rule. They believe the current government is corrupt and oppressive, so pictures of the Ayatollah don't mean they are pro-government.

I am glad that the younger generation in Japan is finally getting support from the US. good on Trump.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Best thing USA can do is shut up and keep hands off. Any attempt to support insurgents will be used as an excuse to crack down on them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

“Big protests in Iran,” President Trump tweeted Sunday. Erdogan of Turkey said yesterday that Trump is a hypocrite! He supports protests in Iran but he never mentioned Palestinian protests against Israeli military occupation of Palestine. Erdogan has a point.

What’s the difference between Trump supporting the protesters in Iran and Hillary supporting the protesters during the Arab Spring which were a lot bigger?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Trump's war with Iran has begun

I say the deep state, Israel and Saudi Arabia's war with Iran has begun. Trump is just the Master of Ceremonies.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What’s the difference between Trump supporting the protesters in Iran and Hillary supporting the protesters during the Arab Spring which were a lot bigger?

That's a good point. The US should have stayed out of the Middle East then, and should stay out of it now. No difference.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seems some are begging for harsh treatment from the authorities.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

More people in our country will get wise on how their money is being stolen by our government and given to the super wealthy.

Street demonstrations, like we see in Iran, are not out of the question.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lest it's forgotten, the Iranian Revolution that swept Khomenei into power was largely borne out of student protests - it'd be ironic if the Revolution would be against it now

In the early days of these recent protests, the Iran hard-liners actually supported the protesters because it was going against their enemy President Rouhani, a moderate. But now the protests have grown out of their control

Most of the protests are not in the cities but in the rural areas, where the people aren't reaping the economic benefits

Unlike the nationwide pro-democracy protests of 2009, these protests don't have a central theme or central authority that's leading it. Most of their issues deal with the local economy; some against the religious establishments - it's a mix of myriad issues

The common issue seems to stem from the Iranian government focusing too much of their oil money on foreign lands (Syria, Yemen, Lebanon Hezbollah, Palestine, etc.) instead of using the money to improve the local economy at home

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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