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Iran: Repression

Monday 8 January 2018, by siawi3


January 8, 2018 / 11:09 AM / Updated 2 hours ago

In jab at rivals, Rouhani says Iran protests about more than economy

Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) - In a swipe at his hardline rivals, President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday young Iranian protesters were unhappy about far more than just the economy and they would no longer defer to the views and lifestyle of an aging revolutionary elite.

FILE PHOTO: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers remarks at a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S. September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

The pragmatic cleric, who defeated anti-Western hardliners to win re-election last year, also called for the lifting of curbs on social media used by anti-government protesters in the most sustained challenge to conservative authorities since 2009.

“It would be a misrepresentation (of events) and also an insult to Iranian people to say they only had economic demands,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

“People had economic, political and social demands.”

Rouhani, 69, suggested there was a generational element to the unrest, which appears to have been spearheaded by under-25s.

“We cannot pick a lifestyle and tell two generations after us to live like that. It is impossible... The views of the young generation about life and the world is different than ours,” he said.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s security backbone since the 1979 revolution that created the Islamic Republic, said on Sunday the security forces had put an end to a week of unrest fomented by what it called foreign enemies.

The protests, which began over economic hardships suffered by the young and working class, spread to more than 80 cities and towns and has resulted in 22 deaths and more than 1,000 arrests, according to Iranian officials.

Hamid Shahriari, the deputy head of the Judiciary said that all ringleaders of the protests had been identified and arrested, and they would be firmly punished and might face capital punishment.

Two Iranian lawmakers said on Monday that a 22-year-old detainee has died in prison.

The director of the Prisons Organization, Mostafa Mohebbi, confirmed the death on the judiciary’s official website and said “Sina Ghanbari has hanged himself in a toilet on Saturday”.

Many of the protesters questioned Iran’s foreign policy in the Middle East, where it has intervened in Syria and Iraq in a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia.


The country’s financial support for Palestinians and the Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah also angered Iranians, who want their government to focus on domestic economic problems instead.

Rouhani won re-election last year by promising more jobs for Iran’s youth through more foreign investment, as well as more social justice, individual freedom and political tolerance - aims questioned by his main challenger in the contest.

Echoing some of his campaign rhetoric, Rouhani said on Monday people should be allowed to criticize all Iranian officials, with no exception.

Demonstrators initially vented their anger over high prices and alleged corruption, but the protests took on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of people calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 78, to step down.

The Supreme Leader is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints the heads of the judiciary. Key ministers are selected with his agreement and he has the ultimate say on Iran’s foreign policy. By comparison, the president has little power.

“No one is innocent and people are allowed to criticize everyone,” said Rouhani.

Rouhani also dismissed calls from hardline clerics who had asked the government to permanently block access social media and messaging apps.

As protests have ebbed, the government has lifted restrictions it imposed on Instagram, one of the social media tools used to mobilize protesters. But access to a more widely used messaging app, Telegram, was still blocked. The government has said the restrictions would be temporary.

“People’s access to social media should not permanently be restricted. We cannot be indifferent to people’s life and business,” Rouhani said.

Morteza Mousavian, head of information technology in the ministry of culture, was quoted as saying by Donya-e-Eqtesad Daily on Sunday that 9,000 business entities have been affected by the ban on Telegram.

Half of Iran’s 80 million population use Telegram.

State television showed live pictures of more pro-government rallies in several cities, including Sanandaj in western Iran, and Sari in north, as marchers carried posters of Ayatollah Khamenei and chanted slogans in his support.

Iranian Vice-President Masoumeh Ebtekar tweeted on Monday that Rouhani has insisted that all detained students should be released.

Mohammad Bathaei, the education minister said on Monday there were many school children among the detainees and he was asking for their release before exam season.

Amnesty International said last week that more than 1,000 Iranians had been arrested and detained in jails “notorious for torture and other ill-treatment over the past seven days”, with many being denied access to families and lawyers.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Editing by William Maclean



Iranian ex-President Ahmadinejad arrested: Report

January 7, 2018

By:Samaa Web Desk

TEHRAN: The Iranian government has reportedly arrested former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for inciting unrest and demonstrations through his statements.

Authorities are now seeking to place Ahmadinejad under house arrest with Khamenei’s approval, the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper added, citing “reliable sources in Tehran”.

UK-based newspaper Daily Mail has also run a similar report.

During a visit to Bushehr city late December, Ahmadinejad had said that Iran suffered from “mismanagement” and that current President Hassan Rouhani and his government “believe that they own the land and that the people are an ignorant society,” the newspaper reported.

“Some of the current leaders live detached from the problems and concerns of the people, and do not know anything about the reality of society,” they reported him saying.

Iran’s fifth head of the judicial system, Amole Larijani, had accused Ahmadinejad of inciting more protests, the same accusation directed at prominent Shiite cleric and politician Mehdi Karroubi and former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi which also lead to their house arrest.

In a videotaped statement, Ahmadinejad spoke about Larijani sarcastically saying, “I have no children spying for the West, I have no brothers who are actively smuggling goods, and I do not steal land to raise my cattle.”

The protests currently sweeping Iran are being considered the largest challenge to the Iranian regime since the Green Movement uprising in 2009 after the re-election of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Protests that have rocked Iran have reached the eleventh consecutive day on Sunday. Activists protested last Friday under the slogan “The Friday of Anger for our Martyrs” referring to the 50 protesters who were killed so far by Iranian security forces, according to the opposition.

According to the government, the official number of deaths since the uprising is 22. However, opposition announced that the toll has reached 50 on Friday.

Iran parliament holds special meeting on protests: AFP

According to AFP, Iranian lawmakers held a closed-door session on Sunday to discuss the deadly protests that hit the country last week, while more pro-regime rallies were held in several cities.

“The security officials confirmed that most of those arrested have been released,” Gholamreza Heydari, a reformist lawmaker in Tehran, told parliament’s ICANA website.

He was speaking after the session in which MPs grilled Interior Minister Abdolrahmani Rahmani Fazli, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani over the days of unrest that straddled the new year.

Mohammad Reza Kachouie, another deputy, said most of those detained were unemployed people, “without university degrees”.

“The parliament meeting principally looked into the condition of the people, the economic situation and unemployment. The enemy is trying to infiltrate the country by using these issues,” he told ICANA.

A reformist MP Bahram Parsaie said blame should not focus on President Hassan Rouhani but on decades of poor governance.

“I hope we face up to reality and take lessons from past mistakes,” ICANA quoted him as saying.

The protests began on December 28 over economic issues before quickly spiralling out of control and turning against the regime as a whole, leaving 21 dead and hundreds arrested.

Police have previously said they have released many of the hundreds arrested during the unrest, but that the main instigators were “in the hands of the judiciary”.

Some lawmakers voiced concern over the internet controls put in place during the unrest, including a ban on Iran’s most popular messaging app, Telegram, which officials said had been used to incite violence.

“The parliament is not in favour of keeping Telegram filtering in place, but it must pledge that it will not be used as a tool by the enemies of the Iranian people,” Behrouz Nemati, spokesman for the parliament’s presiding board, wrote on Instagram, which was also temporarily blocked during the unrest.

Many Iranians use Telegram as their main source of news and a way of bypassing the highly restrictive state media, with almost a third of Iran’s 80 million people using the app daily.

Some 9,000 online businesses have been disrupted by the blocking, semi-official news agency ISNA reported, quoting a report by the culture ministry’s digital media centre.

Pro-government rallies were again held in several cities on Sunday, this time in Qazvin, Rasht, Shahr-e Kurd and Yazd.

Tens of thousands of people have participated in similar rallies in the past few days.

The rallies are “the people’s response to the rioters and troublemakers and their supporters”, said state television.

It also repeated official claims that the unrest was orchestrated by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia with the complicity of “anti-revolutionary” groups. – Samaa/AFP



More than 1,000 students arrested in ongoing Iran protests

Photo: University students attend a protest inside Tehran University while a smoke grenade is thrown by anti-riot Iranian police. (AP)

Staff writer, Al Arabiya English

Sunday, 7 January 2018
Last Update: Sunday, 7 January 2018 KSA 03:01 - GMT 00:01

More than 1,000 students, most of whom attend Tehran University, are among those who have been detained since protesters erupted across several cities in Iran.

A report by the Iranian Students’ News Agency quoted Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist member of parliament, as saying that “many of them were not involved in protests”.

At least 21 people have been killed in the ongoing protests, which erupted across the country 10 days ago against the regime.

Protests in Iran have resumed for the tenth day in a row, with demonstrations in several cities taking place throughout Saturday night.

On Saturday evening, protesters staged a demonstration in the town of Mahshahr, south of the province of Ahwaz, as well as the in the Johardasht area in the city of Karaj, north of Tehran.

A video circulated by activists across social media showed demonstrators shouting to their countrymen to join them.

In Shushtar, north of Ahwaz province, young men and women took to the main streets of the city while police and security forces attempted to disperse the protesters.

In Tehran, Iranian activists said the riot police violently broke up a sit-in demonstration at the intersection of Muniriya Street and Javed Street by the families of detainees demanding the release of their relatives arrested during recent demonstrations.

Iranian Turks, also known as Azerbaijani Turks, also clashed with a military unit in the northern city of Tabriz on the first day of joining the protests which have been ongoing for the past 10 days.