Rouhani Urges Calm in Iran as Protests Continue

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Rouhani Urges Calm in Iran as Protests Continueby wpjljron.Rouhani Urges Calm in Iran as Protests ContinueEarlier Sunday, the nation’s interior minister warned that protesters would “pay the price” for what he called their unlawful actions. “Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behavior and pay the price,” the interior minister, Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli, said on state television on Sunday, according to […]

Earlier Sunday, the nation’s interior minister warned that protesters would “pay the price” for what he called their unlawful actions.

“Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behavior and pay the price,” the interior minister, Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli, said on state television on Sunday, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

“The spreading of violence, fear and terror will definitely be confronted,” he said. “The vigilance and intelligence of people has always led any plot to fail.”

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What began as an economic protest turned violent on Saturday in Tehran. State news agencies showed footage of protesters attacking banks and municipal buildings across the nation.

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Social Media, via Reuters

Also on Sunday, state television said Iran would temporarily restrict access to some social media and messaging apps, like Instagram and the messaging app Telegram, to “maintain peace.”

Telegram’s chief executive, Pavel Durov, confirmed that the app had been blocked, posting a statement on Twitter that said, “Iranian authorities started blocking Telegram in Iran today after we publicly refused to shut down channels of peaceful Iranian protesters.”

He added: “We are proud that Telegram is used by thousands of massive opposition channels all over the world. We consider freedom of speech an undeniable human right, and would rather get blocked in a country by its authorities than limit peaceful expression of alternative opinions.”

On Saturday, Telegram had suspended the account of one Iranian channel, Amad News, saying it had violated the service’s terms of use by calling for violence. Government officials had complained directly to Mr. Durov about the channel.

The unauthorized protests have challenged the authorities, with crowds turning revolutionary slogans against the government of the Islamic Republic, which took power after a revolution in 1979.

Protesters in Tehran and elsewhere have called for the resignation of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as witnesses have described crowds chanting “Death to the dictator” and “Clerics should get lost.”

Postings on social media showed what the posters said were demonstrators in Dorud, including bonfires in the street and graphic images of people with bloody wounds. At least one of the videos was verified by BBC Persian.

Travel restrictions have made it difficult to confirm reports about the protests and postings on social media.

President Trump, who as the protests spread had tweeted, “The world is watching!” doubled down on his criticism of the Iranian government on Sunday. He posted on Twitter: “The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!”


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Source Article from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/31/world/middleeast/iran-protests.html

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