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In Iran, Pro- and Anti-government Protesters Take to the Streets

December 30, 2017 by  

Hundreds of conservative protesters, chanting “death to the seditionists,” later took control of the entrance to the university.

On Twitter Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump condemned the arrests of peaceful protesters, as reports emerged that more than 50 people had been detained over the previous couple of days for protesting the country’s economic troubles.

“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. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching!”

In a statement earlier Friday, the State Department said “Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state, whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos.”

The State Department urged “all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the comments.

“The noble Iranian nation never pays heed to the opportunist and hypocritical mottos chanted by the U.S. officials and their interfering allegations on domestic developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the state-run IRNA news agency quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying.

Earlier Friday, Iranians gathered in cities around the nation to voice their displeasure with the country’s economy and government policies.

Iran’s Fars news agency said about 300 people gathered in the western city of Kermanshah, where an earthquake killed some 600 residents in November. The demonstrators were reportedly calling for government attention to their plight, as well as for the government to free its political prisoners. The gathering was eventually broken up by police, according to Fars.

In Tehran, government security official Mohsen Hamedani told reporters that fewer than 50 people gathered for a protest at a public square on Friday. He said a few of them were “temporarily arrested” after they refused to leave when police broke up the demonstration.

Iran is suffering from an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, a stagnant economy and rampant inflation.

Demonstrators have also spoken out against Iranian military personnel being deployed outside the country, particularly in Syria, for long periods of time.

Iran’s Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said Friday that some political factions are using the economy as an excuse to criticize the government. He said those who started the protests may not be able to control the movement.

Saturday’s anti-government protests were in commemoration of massive rallies staged in 2009, following a disputed presidential election and months of unrest.

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