Iranian cleric’s Germany stay triggers heated social media debate

An Iranian ayatollah who was responsible for overseeing hundreds of death sentences received medical treatment in Germany in recent days. The case has stoked a fiery discussion among Iranian social media users.

Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi in his hospital bed in Hanover (entekhab)

Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahroudi was receiving medical treatment for a reported brain tumor at a private hospital in the northern German city of Hanover, when several cases were lodged against him stating that the top Iranian cleric was guilty of murder and crimes against humanity.

Shahroudi served as head of Iran’s justice ministry from 1999 to 2009. During this period, an estimated 2,000 Iranian prisoners, including many minors, were executed.

German politician Volker Beck, who filed one of the complaints, told DW that “Germany should not be a haven for criminals.”

Watch video01:37

A show of unity for threatened 2015 nuclear agreement

“I also wonder how a man like Shahroudi could even get a German visa,” he added.

The filing of the cases prompted the Iranian cleric to abruptly end his stay in Germany and fly back to Iran on Thursday, January 11.

The incident drew sharp reactions from Iranian social media users across the world, with some lambasting the German government for allowing the ayatollah to go scot-free.

Expressing anger

The hashtag #Shahroudi is being used by Iranian critics to post their views on the issue. One Iranian Twitter user named Sam Vaseghi expressed his anger at Germany’s inaction, saying: “Gabriel (Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel) arbitrarily gave an assurance to the Iranian government that Shahroudi would return safely to Iran following his medical treatment.”

/ با گابریل وزیر خارجه‌ی آلمان ۲۰۱۵ در هیئتی اقتصادی به ایران سفر کرد
/گابریل خودسرانه به شاهرودی در ایران ضمانت بازگشت بعد از درمان داد
/دادستانی آلمان دادخواست‌های علیه شاهرودی را مرور می‌کند
/امروز ظهر ۷ بلیط ایران ایر برای فرار از هامبورگ به تهران رزرو شده

«گابریل خودسرانه به شاهرودی در ایران ضمانت بازگشت بعد از درمان داد» journalistenwatch ۱۰/۰۱/۲۰۱۸

Another user tweeted: “Shahroudi’s case shows that there is no safe haven in the world for criminals.”

فرار پیام مهمی داشت:برای جنایتکاران جای امنی در دنیا وجود ندارد و بعد از آزادی ایران محاکمه خواهند شد

Some Iranians also used the hashtag #ShameonGermanGov to voice their disappointment.

A user named Farhang posted: “For several years, I was praising your country (Germany). Today I noticed I was wrong. You betrayed millions of people- again.”

Another user, Ramyar Hassani, who is a Kurdish activist in exile wrote: “European Foreign Policy towards Iran: Begging for the release of its innocent civilians from torture in Iran, meanwhile, providing best medical treatment to Ayatollahs who committed crime against humanity and escorting them back to Tehran.”

European Foreign Policy towards Iran: Begging for the release of its innocent civilians from torture in Iran, meanwhile, providing best medical treatment to Ayatollahs who committed crime against humanity and escorting them back to Tehran.

Likewise, Ramin Dehghan tweeted: “Germany, you mat [might] have won the trust of a regime, but  you lost the respect of nations. People are waiting!”


Germany, you mat have won the trust of a regime, but lost the respect of nations. People for waiting!
Be wise about deciding for long term profits. will rule the World in the near future, and hopefully these ways of profiting will END.

Another user named Majid posted on Instagram: “Money has more power than justice even in Germany, which is a democracy and governed by the rule of law.”

Facebook user “Hamebaham Iranian” wrote: “Didn’t you expect it from Germany? Since years Germany has been turning a blind eye towards Iranian state criminals. Shame on you Germany!”

Sarcastic comments

Some users also wrote sarcastic comments, for instance tweeting an imaginary conversation between Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his German counterpart Gabriel, in which a deal was struck for the safe return of Shahroudi to Tehran in exchange for German firms receiving commercial favors.

جواد این یارو بد موقعی اومد آلمان گندش در آمد
– خطری که نیست قضیه ؟
نه تا یک ساعت دیگه میپره جاش امنه خیلی مایه گذاشتم جوون جواد
– جبران میکنم گابریل جون به زیمنس و بقیه حال میدیم. دم دادستان هم می بینیم..

مکالمه در بروکسل ساعتی پیش

However, not everyone agrees with this criticism. For instance, a Twitter user by the name of Sizdah wrote: “Those who are shouting for Shahroudi’s arrest and believe ‘Germany will not tarnish its relations with Iran over him’ do not have the right view on an independent justice system, where judges do not care about the political and diplomatic interests. Don’t you remember the American judge who ruled against Trump’s travel ban?”

COURTESY: DW

Donald Trump waives Iran nuclear sanctions for third time, warns he won’t do it again

President Donald Trump has again waived nuclear sanctions against Iran, but warned it will be the last time unless a stronger follow-up agreement is reached. Germany has said it will “remain committed” to the agreement.

Donald Trump (picture alliance/dpa/AP/E. Vucci)

US President Donald Trump extended a sanctions waiver on Iran on Friday, keeping the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in force for at least another four months.

Trump did, however, warn that Friday’s waiver would be the last time he was prepared to prevent Congress from putting sanctions in place, unless a significantly strengthened agreement was reached with Iran and the United States’ European allies within 120 days.

Read more: Iran nuclear deal relies on ‘full compliance’ from US

“This is a last chance,” Trump said in a statement. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.”

US Congress requires the president regularly recertify that Iran is in compliance with the agreement — a deal Trump has called the worst the US has ever entered into and which he promised to “rip up.”

Watch video01:37

Show of unity for threatened 2015 agreement

Trump said he wants to amend US law to make Iran’s long-range missile program inseparable from its nuclear program.

The White House noted that a new deal would also be permanent and not expire after 10 years, as is the case under the current 2015 accord.

Following the president’s announcement, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Trump of desperately wanting to undermine the deal, saying the accord is “not negotiable.”

Germany to ‘remain committed’

Late Friday, the German Foreign Ministry said it had taken “note” of Trump’s announcement and would respond after discussing the matter with “our European partners.”

“We remain committed to the continued full implementation of the agreement,” it said in a tweet.

We take note of US announcement concerning . We will talk to our European partners about next steps. We remain committed to the continued full implementation of the agreement.

The EU and UK also acknowledged Trump’s announcement, but said they would not decide on a course of action until discussing it further with the deal’s European signatories.

However, an advocacy group established by former US Secretary of State John Kerry was more confrontational, saying Trump’s threat to withdraw undermines the country’s credibility with its allies.

“A US move to violate or withdraw from the nuclear deal undermines the trans-Atlantic relationship and our alliances of first resort, which are vital across a broad range of policies — from bedrock economic issues to confronting terrorism,” the group said.

Watch video01:56

Can the Iran nuclear deal be saved?

US Treasury sanctions Iranian officials

The White House’s announcement coincided with a series of new sanctions by the Treasury Department targeting Iranian officials. Among them is the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani. The White House said the move was a response to Tehran’s crackdown on recent anti-government demonstrations, which left 18 protesters dead and thousands under arrest.

Read more: Ayatollah Khamenei slams US ‘bullying’ Iran on nuclear deal

The new sanctions come on top of previous designations announced back in May and October. Those mainly targeted Iranian defense officials, as well as a China-based network the US says is supporting Iran’s missile program.

Watch video01:28

What Trump’s Iran strategy means for European companies

ls, dm/cmk (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

COURTESY: DW

Party of late Yemen ex-President Saleh names new head

The party that led Yemen for 30 years appointed a new chief in the midst of the country’s civil war. After switching sides twice, former party leader President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed by Houthi rebels in December.

Yemen's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh (picture alliance/AP Photo/H. Mohammed)

The party of Yemen’s slain former President Ali Abdullah Saleh (pictured above) appointed a new chief on Sunday, the General People’s Congress Party announced at a press conference in the capital, Sanaa.

Sadek Amin Abu Raas is now the head of the party, which Saleh founded in 1982 and led until the wave of anti-authoritarianism brought on by the Arab Spring led to his ouster in 2012. He was replaced as president by his deputy Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

During his three-decade tenure, Saleh led several relatively successful military campaigns against the Houthis. After his expulsion, Saleh formed a surprise alliance with the Houthis, who were able take over Sanaa in 2014 with the backing of Iran.

He switched sides again in December 2017, announcing that he would support his one-time enemies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and President Hadi. He was then killed by a Houthi sniper while attempting to flee the capital later that same month.

President Hadi and the Houthis remained locked in a frozen civil war that is largely seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran, who have backed opposing sides. The conflict has caused more than 10,000 deaths – more than half of them civilians – and a deepening humanitarian crisis that has left many in Yemen without enough food, drinking water or medical supplies. Aid organizations have regularly complained about both sides blocking access to the most desperate areas of the country.

es/rc (dpa, Reuters)

COURTESY: DW

German FM Sigmar Gabriel urges Iran to respect people’s right to protest

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called on authorities and protesters in Iran to exercise restraint. Iranian police have said an officer was shot and killed as nationwide protests broke out again.

Watch video02:41

More deaths in Iran as protests continue – AFP correspondent Eric Randolph

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday called on Iranian authorities and anti-government protestors to refrain from violent acts, a day after 10 people were killed in clashes with security forcesacross the country.

The plea from Germany’s top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel came as fresh demonstrations broke out in the Iranian capital of Tehran as night fell on Monday, despite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani having vowed that authorities would deal with “rioters and lawbreakers.”

Read more: Protests in Iran: The genie is out of the bottle

Read more: Iran warns of crackdown as 200 protesters arrested

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin, citing Gabriel, posted on Twitter: “We appeal to the Iranian government to respect the demonstrators’ rights to freely and peacefully speak their voice. Following the confrontations in recent days, it is increasingly important that all sides refrain from violence.”

AM @sigmargabriel zu Demonstrationen in Iran: Appellieren an iranische Regierung, Rechte der Demonstranten zu respektieren, frei u. friedlich ihre Stimme zu erheben. Nach Konfrontation der vergangenen Tage umso wichtiger, allseits von gewaltsamen Handlungen Abstand zu nehmen.

US President Donald Trump also weighed in on the escalating crisis in Iran on Monday, posting on Twitter that it was “time for a change” in the country. “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years,” Trump tweeted. “They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted.”

What a year it’s been, and we’re just getting started. Together, we are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Happy New Year!! pic.twitter.com/qsMNyN1UJG

Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!

Reports: One officer killed

According to an Iranian police spokesman on Monday, one police officer was shot dead and another three were wounded shortly after Monday night’s protests erupted.

“A rioter took advantage of the situation in the city of Najaf Abad and fired shots at police forces with a hunting rifle,” Iranian state television quoted a police spokesperson of saying. “As a result, three were wounded, and one was martyred.”

Read more: Iran’s Rouhani: We accept protesters’ anger over economy

It marks the first reported security force fatality since anti-government protests broke out in the second city Mashhad last Thursday.

Although the Iranian government has imposed strict restrictions on reporting out of the country, a number of semi-official news agencies reported late on Monday that a heavy police presence lined the streets of Tehran, as small groups of protesters were seen running and chanting slogans denouncing Rouhani and his regime.

Watch video01:51

Iranian authorities threaten to come down hard on protesters: Eric Randolph (AFP) from Tehran

Rouhani downplays unrest

Earllier on Monday, Rouhani tried to play down Sunday’s violent unrest, dismissing it as “nothing.”

In a statement published on the Iranian government’s website Monday, the Iranian president said: “Our nation will deal with this minority who chant slogans against the law and people’s wishes and insult the sanctities and values of the revolution.”

The rallies are some of the largest in the Islamic Republic since a series of nationwide anti-government protests broke out following the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Many protesters have complained that the reforms promised by Rouhani have failed to significantly improve the economy since he took office in 2013.

Watch video00:37

Rouhani: ‘Criticizing and protesting should be done constructively’

dm/tj (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

COURTESY: DW

Trump fires back at Rouhani slam amid deadly Iran protests

President Trump fired back Sunday at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who’d broken his silence on rare, widespread and deadly protests breaking out inside the Islamic Republic.

“Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!” Trump tweeted.

It may have been a reference to Rouhani’s jab earlier in the day, when he said Trump “has forgotten that he had called Iranian people ‘terrorists’ a few months ago.”

Rouhani also said in his speech Sunday night — his first since the protests first broke out Thursday — that people have the right to demonstrate, but those demonstrations should not make the public “feel concerned about their lives and security.”

People protest in Tehran, Iran December 30, 2017 in in this picture obtained from social media. REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC1F4C4949E0

Dec. 30, 2017: The protests have spread to Iranian’s capital of Tehran.  (Reuters)

Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted that Iranians were “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,” Trump wrote. “The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!”

Rouhani’s comments came hours after two protesters were killed at a rally.

The deaths were the first of the demonstrations, which appear to be the largest to strike Iran since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election. Thousands of people have taken to the streets.

“On Saturday evening, there was an illegal protest in Dorud and a number of people took to the streets responding to calls from hostile groups, leading to clashes,” said Habibollah Khojastehpour, the deputy governor of the western Lorestan province, according to Sky News. “Unfortunately in these clashes two citizens from Dorud were killed.”

In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, anti-riot Iranian police prevent university students to join other protesters over Iran weak economy, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran's weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment. (AP Photo)

Dec. 30, 2017: In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, anti-riot Iranian police prevent university students from joining other protesters in Tehran, Iran.  (AP)

Khojastehpour told state television that “no shots were fired by the police and security forces” and “foreign agents” and “enemies of the revolutions” were to blame.

A Revolutionary Guard Telegram channel blamed the deaths on “people armed with hunting and military weapons” who “entered the protests and started shooting randomly toward the crowd and the governor’s building,” according to Sky News, adding that six people also were wounded.

Videos circulating on social media late Saturday appeared to show fallen protesters in Doroud as gunshots sounded in the background, although the footage could not be independently confirmed.

The killings came as interior minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli warned Iranians about participating in the protests.

“Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behavior and pay the price,” Sky News quoted Fazli as saying early Sunday on state television.

TRUMP REDOUBLES SUPPORT OF IRAN PROTESTS, SAYING THE ‘WORLD IS WATCHING’

The CEO of the popular messaging app Telegram, which protesters have used to plan and publicize demonstrations, according to the Associated Press, said Sunday that Iran has been “blocking access… for the majority of Iranians.” Iranians said the app is now inaccessible by mobile phone networks.

State TV also said Instagram use has been “temporarily limited.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 Courtesy: Fox News

Trump fires back at Rouhani slam amid deadly Iran protests

President Trump fired back Sunday at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who’d broken his silence on rare, widespread and deadly protests breaking out inside the Islamic Republic.

“Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!” Trump tweeted.

It may have been a reference to Rouhani’s jab earlier in the day, when he said Trump “has forgotten that he had called Iranian people ‘terrorists’ a few months ago.”

Rouhani also said in his speech Sunday night — his first since the protests first broke out Thursday — that people have the right to demonstrate, but those demonstrations should not make the public “feel concerned about their lives and security.”

People protest in Tehran, Iran December 30, 2017 in in this picture obtained from social media. REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC1F4C4949E0

Dec. 30, 2017: The protests have spread to Iranian’s capital of Tehran.  (Reuters)

Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted that Iranians were “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,” Trump wrote. “The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!”

Rouhani’s comments came hours after two protesters were killed at a rally.

The deaths were the first of the demonstrations, which appear to be the largest to strike Iran since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election. Thousands of people have taken to the streets.

“On Saturday evening, there was an illegal protest in Dorud and a number of people took to the streets responding to calls from hostile groups, leading to clashes,” said Habibollah Khojastehpour, the deputy governor of the western Lorestan province, according to Sky News. “Unfortunately in these clashes two citizens from Dorud were killed.”

In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, anti-riot Iranian police prevent university students to join other protesters over Iran weak economy, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran's weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment. (AP Photo)

Dec. 30, 2017: In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, anti-riot Iranian police prevent university students from joining other protesters in Tehran, Iran.  (AP)

Khojastehpour told state television that “no shots were fired by the police and security forces” and “foreign agents” and “enemies of the revolutions” were to blame.

A Revolutionary Guard Telegram channel blamed the deaths on “people armed with hunting and military weapons” who “entered the protests and started shooting randomly toward the crowd and the governor’s building,” according to Sky News, adding that six people also were wounded.

Videos circulating on social media late Saturday appeared to show fallen protesters in Doroud as gunshots sounded in the background, although the footage could not be independently confirmed.

The killings came as interior minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli warned Iranians about participating in the protests.

“Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behavior and pay the price,” Sky News quoted Fazli as saying early Sunday on state television.

TRUMP REDOUBLES SUPPORT OF IRAN PROTESTS, SAYING THE ‘WORLD IS WATCHING’

The CEO of the popular messaging app Telegram, which protesters have used to plan and publicize demonstrations, according to the Associated Press, said Sunday that Iran has been “blocking access… for the majority of Iranians.” Iranians said the app is now inaccessible by mobile phone networks.

State TV also said Instagram use has been “temporarily limited.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtesy: RT

Iran protests continue for a third day despite warnings

  • 4 hours ago
An Iranian university student raises her fist in a cloud of smoke at Tehran UniversityImage copyrightEPA
Image captionProtesters clashed with police at Tehran University

Anti-government protests have continued in Iran for a third day, with reports of demonstrations in many cities despite warnings from authorities.

At Tehran University, protesters called for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and there were clashes with police.

Demonstrators ignored the interior minister’s warning that citizens should avoid “illegal gatherings”.

Meanwhile, thousands of pro-government demonstrators turned out for rallies.

These official rallies were organised in advance of the anti-government protests, to mark the eighth anniversary of the suppression of major street protests in 2009.

The current protests began in the north-east on Thursday over living standards and by Friday had spread to several major cities.

Media captionIranian state TV showed crowds of government supporters in the capital, Tehran

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli urged people not to take part “as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens”, but videos posted online suggest that protests were held on Saturday in at least nine cities across the country.

The Iranian authorities are blaming anti-revolutionaries and agents of foreign powers for the outbreak of protests. The communications minister has also urged Telegram, a popular mobile messaging app in Iran, to stop “promoting violence”.

In the US, the Trump administration warned Iran overnight that the world was watching its response. Iran’s foreign ministry called the comments “opportunistic and deceitful”.


‘An eye-opening three days’

By BBC Persian correspondent Kasra Naji

Although small, the anti-government protests on Saturday took on a much greater importance than the government-sponsored rallies.

It’s not every day that there are thousands of people voicing opposition to the government.

As night fell, reports were still coming of protests in many cities. There have been clashes with the police in some places.

The common factor in all of them has been protesters’ demand for an end to clerical rule in Iran.

Widespread discontent is not limited to complaints about rising prices or widespread unemployment.

It has been an eye-opening three days for the government, which has been careful not to provoke the protesters too much.


How did the anti-government demonstrations start?

The protests started in the north-eastern city of Mashhad – the country’s second most-populous – on Thursday.

People there took to the streets to express anger at the government over high prices, and vented their fury against President Hassan Rouhani. Fifty-two people were arrested.

Media captionProtesters take to streets venting anger against authorities

The protests spread to at least half a dozen cities on Friday. In some cities police in riot gear and on motorbikes clashed with demonstrators.

It is the biggest display of public dissent since huge pro-reform rallies in 2009.

Overall, the numbers said to be taking part range from less than 100 in some places to thousands in others – but demonstrations do not appear to be taking place on a massive scale. Information about them has mostly emerged through social media.

A video that spread among Persian-language Twitter users earlier on Saturday showed students at Tehran University calling for Mr Khamenei to step down.

The hardline Fars news agency tweeted that “opportunists” were trying to raise unrest in front of the university. However AFP news agency reported that pro-regime counter-demonstrators appeared to outnumber them and chanted “death to the seditionists”.

Iranian students clash with riot police during an anti-government protest around the University of Tehran. One man hold a concrete block in front of police carrying batons and shields.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThe scene earlier at Tehran University

Many videos have emerged online showing protests said to have been held on Saturday in cities across Iran, including Karaj, Arak, Zanjan, Khorramabad, Shiraz and Bandar Abbas, BBC Monitoring reports.

What is Iran saying about the protests?

First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has suggested that government opponents are behind the protests, state broadcaster IRIB reports.

He said: “Some incidents in the country these days are on the pretext of economic problems, but it seems there is something else behind them. They think by doing this they harm the government, but it will be others who ride the wave.”

Officials in Mashhad said the protest was organised by “counter-revolutionary elements”, while state-run Channel One says “some opportunists tried to make British, American and Saudi media happy with norm-breaking slogans”.

Its report added however that “the economic problems of the people are undeniable” – a sentiment echoed by some officials.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presents his budget for 2018-2019 on December 10, 2017Image copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Hassan Rouhani is blamed by many for the poor state of the economy

What was the US response?

“The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter.

The same tweet later appeared on President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

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

What is behind the unrest?

The protests were initially against economic conditions and corruption but appear to have turned political.

Slogans have been chanted against not just Mr Rouhani but Mr Khamenei, and clerical rule in general.

Demonstrators were reportedly heard yelling slogans like “The people are begging, the clerics act like God”. Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics.

There is also anger at Iran’s interventions abroad. In Mashhad, some chanted “not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran”, a reference to what protesters say is the administration’s focus on foreign rather than domestic issues.

Other demonstrators chanted “leave Syria, think about us” in videos posted online. Iran is a key provider of military support to the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

It is also accused of providing arms to Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which it denies, and is an ally of Lebanon’s powerful Shia movement Hezbollah.

Map showing cities in Iran where protests have occurred
Image captionProtests took place in at least half a dozen cities
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