All you should to know about the anti-government protests in Iran - <b>Technical Lobby</b>

Sunday, December 31, 2017

All you should to know about the anti-government protests in Iran

Hundreds of Iranians have taken to the streets since December 28 across several cities of the country.
Hundreds of Iranians have taken to the streets since December 28 across several cities of the country. The protests initially appeared to target the struggling economy and the resultant price rise, but quickly turned against the Hassan Rouhani regime. Here is the lowdown on the situation:

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When and where did the protests begin?

The first demonstrations began at Mashhad, the country’s second-largest city and a Shia holy site, on December 28. The next day, protests were reported from Qom, the world’s foremost centre for learning on Shia Islam and home to a major Shia shrine. The protests have since spread to several cities of the Islamic Republic including Rasht, Hamedan, Kermanshah, and Qazvin. The police responded with water cannons, and dozens of demonstrators have also been arrested. The demonstrations have been termed the largest to strike Iran since the 2009 Green Movement sparked by hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

Ironically the protests began days after the Tehran police said they would no longer arrest women for failing to observe the dress code in place since the 1979 revolution. According to Tehran Police chief Gen. Hossein Rahimi, violators “will no longer be taken to detention centres, nor will judicial cases be filed against them”. Instead, they would be made to attend classes given by police. But, repeat offenders could still be subject to legal action.

What is the government saying?

President Hassan Rouhani’s clergy-monitored regime is attempting to limit the scope of the protests to anger against price rise. Government representatives such as Vice-President in charge of women's affairs Massoumeh Ebtekar are seeing the protests as directed by outside forces such as United States and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Some officials such as Mr. Rouhani’s advisor Hesamoddin Ashena have also warned against dismissing the protests. The government has also pointed fingers at hardliners.

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Some of the protests were also directed against financial scandals linked to unauthorised lending institutions which collapsed with the loss of hundreds of thousands of accounts. According to Payam Parhiz, editor-in-chief of reformist media network Nazar, the current protests were more focused on the economy than those in 2009, which were sparked by allegations of election-rigging.

However, some see the protests as the beginning of bigger things to come. On December 30, students gathered in front of Tehran University and hurled rocks at police. A social media video showed them chanting “Death to the dictator", in an apparent reference to Ayatollah Khamenei.

How’s the world seeing it?

U.S. President Donald Trump added fuel to the fire. “Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime's corruption & its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism abroad," he tweeted on December 29. “Iranian govt should respect their people's rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi dismissed Mr. Trump’s comments as “irrelevant” and “opportunistic”.

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