LIVE BLOG: Iran Protests

12/31/17 12:45pm – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in his first comments since days of anti-government demonstrations broke out, said people have the right to protest but stressed violence is not acceptable.

“Criticism is different to violence and destroying public property,” he told a Cabinet meeting, according to state media.

12/31/17 11:50am – Iran’s semi-official ILNA news agency is reporting that police arrested around 200 protesters in the capital Tehran on Saturday.

12/3117 11:45am – Anti-government protests continued for a 4th day in Iran.

12/31/17 11:43am – U.S Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley issued a statement on the protests in Iran.

“In the New Year, our hopes and prayers are with the millions of people who are suffering terribly from oppressive governments in North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and especially in Iran, where the long-repressed Iranian people are now finding their voice. The Iranian government is being tested by its own citizens. We pray that freedom and human rights will carry the day,” she said.

12/31/17 11:00am – Iran temporarily blocked Instagram and messaging app Telegram on Sunday to “maintain peace” amid growing demonstrations, state television said. Many protesters had been using the apps to upload or share photos and videos from demonstrations.

12/31/17 10:30am – Telegram’s CEO said Sunday on Twitter that the app had been blocked after management refused to heed a government request to shut it down.

12/31/17 – 8:30am – President Donald Trump tweeted about the protests, saying “The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations.”

12/31/17 7:00am – An Iranian official blamed “foreign agents” for the shooting deaths of two protesters on Saturday. The shootings happened in the western town of Dorud on the third day of protests. VOA’s Persian service identified the victims as Hamzeh Lashni and Hossein Reshno after a reporter spoke to the victims’ families.

12/31/17 1:00am – Iran’s interior minister warned that those who “disrupt the order and break the law must be responsible for their behavior and pay the price.” Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli, in a statement on state television, said “fear and terror will definitely be confronted.”

12/30/17 – Videos posted to social media seemed to show thousands of people protesting in several cities throughout Iran. Saturday’s demonstrations were the largest and the most serious challenge to Iranian authorities since 2009.

12/30/17 – President Donald Trump denounced the Iranian government Saturday, tweeting excerpts from his September 19 speech to the U.N. General Assembly. He charged Rouhani’s government, and those before it, have long oppressed the Iranian people.

12/30/17 – Separate state-sponsored rallies took place around the country Saturday to mark the end of the unrest that shook the country in 2009. State television reported pro-government rallies were held in about 1,200 cities and towns.

12/29/17 – The White House strongly condemned the arrests in Iran of peaceful protesters, as reports emerged that more than 50 people were arrested for protesting in Iranian cities against the country’s economic troubles. “There are many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with the regime’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad,” the White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching.”

12/29/17 – The State Department said it urges “all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”

12/29/17 – Iranians gathered for another day of protests in cities around the nation Friday, as people voice their displeasure with the country’s economy and government policies.
These demonstrations are seen as a cry against President Hassan Rouhani, who won re-election in May with promises to revive the economy.

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