10 people died in the last 24 hours during anti-government protests in Iran, against the cost of living and power, an unprecedented protests in Iran for years in the country.
In the wake of his call for calm and his promise of “greater space for criticism,” President Hassan Rohani warned Monday that “the people of Iran will respond to troublemakers”, a “small minority” according to him.
For the fourth night in a row, protesters took to the streets in several cities across the country, including the capital Tehran, on Sunday night to protest the government’s economic hardship – unemployment, high cost of living and corruption.
According to videos posted online by the Iranian media and social networks, protesters attacked and sometimes burned public buildings, religious centers and banks or seats of the regime’s Islamic militia (Bassij). Protesters also set fire to police cars.
A total of 12 people died in the violence that sparked protests in Mashhad, the country’s second largest city, on Thursday, before spreading and spreading across the country.
On Sunday night, six people were killed by “suspected shootings” in Toyserkan (west), according to state television, and four died in Izeh (southwest) and Doroud (west), according to other media.
The authorities claim that the police do not fire on the protesters and accuse “troublemakers” or “counterrevolutionaries” armed to infiltrate among them.
“In Toyserkan, masked troublemakers who seemed not to be locals attacked and burned public buildings. There were suspicious shootings that killed six people, “the television said.
“To be united”
In Izeh, two protesters were shot dead, but one official said he did not know if the shooting came from law enforcement or protesters. In Doroud, two passengers in a car perished when their vehicle was hit by a fire truck stolen by protesters who dropped him off a slope, according to the prefect.
On Saturday, two protesters were also killed in Doroud, where one official said the security forces had not opened fire.
The demonstrations continued despite authorities blocking mobile telephones Telegram and Instagram, used to call demonstrations.
“The Iranian people will respond to troublemakers and outlaws,” Rohani warned, calling the protesters “a small minority who (…) insult sacred and revolutionary values.”
“Our economy needs a major surgery, we must all be united,” Rohani said in a statement, stressing the government’s determination to “solve the population’s problems,” especially unemployment.
The day before, Rohani acknowledged that Iran must provide “space” for the public to express its “concerns”, but condemned the violence. “Criticism is totally different than using violence.”
Mr. Rohani, elected for a second principal in May 2017, allowed Iran to come out of its isolation with the lifting of international sanctions that had been imposed to denounce the sensitive nuclear activities of the country.
This lifting of sanctions with the signing in 2015 of a historic agreement with the major powers on the Iranian nuclear program had made the Iranians hope for an improvement of the bad economic situation, but the fruits of this agreement are still waiting.
More than 400 arrests
The new protests have been unpublished since the protest movement against the re-election of the ultra-conservative ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, violently repressed.
Sunday disturbances again occurred in a dozen cities, including Kermanshah (west), Shahinshahr (near Isfahan), Takestan (north), Zanjan (north), Toyeserkan (west), Nahavand. “Some troublemakers have been arrested” in some localities, according to officials.
In Tehran, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a small group of protesters on Sunday night that launched slogans hostile to power in the university district.
In the capital, 200 people were arrested. Some 200 others have been arrested in provincial cities in recent days, according to media reports.
Again attacking the regime in Iran, their nemesis, the United States gave Sunday their support “to the right of the Iranian people to express themselves peacefully and to be heard”.
Iran, for its part, denounced the interference of the United States in its affairs.