Nine more dead as violent Iran protests continue over price of food

Violet Powell
January 2, 2018

President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the public's anger over the Islamic Republic's flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn't hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers. State media said that armed protesters tried to over-run police stations and military bases. At least 36 people were killed in 2009, according to an official toll, while the opposition says 72 died.

It wasn't clear whether the Revolutionary Guard member was the same fatality report late Monday night by Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency.

"People of Izeh, like some other cities, held a protest against economic problems and unfortunately it led to the killing of two people and injuries to some others", Hedayatollah Khademi, the local MP, told the ILNA news agency, adding it was unclear who had fired the shots.

The towns are all in Iran's central Isfahan province, some 215 miles south of Tehran, the capital.

The unrest is billed as the biggest test for the Iranian regime since 2009, when authorities ruthlessly put down protests which followed a disputed presidential election that gave hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term.

"At the moment, the protests do not constitute a threat to the survival of the regime, but they do weaken it and undermine its legitimacy, and they are likely to threaten its stability in the long term", it reportedly states.

Meanwhile, a member of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard was reportedly gunned down in the city of Najafabad, also in Isfahan.

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Pointing to a humiliating defeat that enemies suffered in their recent attempts to hijack the peaceful rallies in Iran, the general said the evil American and Zionist plots against the Islamic Republic have been hatched while the United States itself saw various public protests against Washington's policies and measures in 2017.

The protests were fanned in part by messages sent on the Telegram messaging app, which authorities blocked on Sunday along with Instagram. 'They are hungry for food & for freedom. "Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted", Trump wrote in a tweet.

More than 400 people have been arrested in the four days of protests.

"This man who today in America wants to sympathise with our people has forgotten that a few months ago he called the nation of Iran terrorist".

The Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council described the protests as a "proxy war against the Iranian people".

Iran's intelligence ministry released a statement saying "instigators" have been identified "and will be dealt with seriously soon".

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