World Iran Declares Protests Are Over, but the Evidence Suggests Otherwise

02:32  22 november  2019
02:32  22 november  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

Protests strike Iran cities over gasoline prices rising

  Protests strike Iran cities over gasoline prices rising Protests struck several Iranian cities early Saturday over the government cutting back on gasoline subsidies and increasing costs by 50%, demonstrations ranging from people abandoning their cars in traffic to trying to attack an oil depot in one city. © Provided by The Associated Press Vehicles queue to enter a gas station in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Authorities have imposed rationing and increased the prices of fuel. The decision came following months of speculations about possible rationing after the U.S.

The Iranian authorities moved Thursday to project the appearance of normalcy after a week of violent protests over gasoline price increases, partly restoring internet access and decreeing that the mayhem that convulsed the country was really a foreign-backed failure.

Iranian officials say 12 protesters and members of Iran ’s security forces have died and more than 600 Iranian journalists have claimed in reports that shootings by the security forces number well over 100 Reports out of Iran confirm widespread and diffuse protests but the shutdown of the internet

The Iranian authorities moved Thursday to project the appearance of normalcy after a week of violent protests over gasoline price increases, partly restoring internet access and decreeing that the mayhem that convulsed the country was really a foreign-backed failure.

Khamenei blames counter-revolution, enemies for 'sabotage' in Iran gasoline price protests

  Khamenei blames counter-revolution, enemies for 'sabotage' in Iran gasoline price protests Khamenei blames counter-revolution, enemies for 'sabotage' in Iran gasoline price protests"Some people are no doubt worried by this decision ... but sabotage and arson is done by hooligans not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran's enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so," Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to state TV.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said Iranian security forces have killed at least 106 protesters during ongoing unrest over a fuel price hike. At least 106 people have been killed across Iran since widespread protests erupted five days ago, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

While the protests may have begun over economic grievances, they soon took on a political dimension. The protests are the biggest challenge to Tehran’s leaders since 2009, when the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to months of unrest amid a bloody crackdown.

But other developments suggested that a severe crackdown was underway in response to the street clashes, rioting and destruction that had upended life in dozens of Iranian cities and towns — and that the uprisings had not been completely crushed.

Doctors reported that hospitals were overfilled with people injured in the protests. They also said the Health Ministry had ordered all hospitals in Tehran and other cities to cancel elective surgeries because of the influx of emergency cases.

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Iran’s student union said plainclothes agents of the pro-government Basij militia, hiding inside ambulances to evade restrictions on entering campuses, had seized more than 50 students at Tehran University after protests there.

Iran shuts down nearly all internet access in response to fuel protests

  Iran shuts down nearly all internet access in response to fuel protests Iran is trying an all-too-familiar tactic to hinder protests: cut the lines of communication. The Iranian government has shut down nearly all internet access in the country amidst mounting protests that began over a 50 percent hike in fuel prices and now encompass wider dissent. There are pockets of access that have let people show what's happening on the ground, but they're rare. Phone calls abroad still work, but those are also closely monitored.The government hasn't formally acknowledged the internet shutdown.

Mass protests erupted in Iran last Friday after the government sharply raised the price of petrol, and the unrest quickly spread to cities and towns Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday declared that the unrest had been put down. "The Iranian people have again succeeded in an historic

Iran 's president has claimed victory against an "enemy" plot, following a deadly crackdown by security forces on protests over petrol price rises. "Subversive elements" backed by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia were behind the unrest, Hassan Rouhani alleged.

The government also came in for some extraordinary criticism from the nation’s writers guild over what amounted to an internet blackout that started on Sunday in the nation of 80 million, effectively obscuring much of what was happening during the protests. NetBlocks, a firm that tracks cybersecurity, said the shutdown had disconnected almost the entire country.

“Shutting down the internet and cutting the access of Iranians and the outside world to the news is the latest tactic to crush protests without the eyes of the world on you,” the guild said Thursday in a statement posted on Telegram.

President Trump, whose sanctions are at least partly blamed for Iran’s economic travails, broke six days of silence on the protests. Iran had become so unstable, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “that the regime has shut down their entire Internet System so that the Great Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country.”

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Blackout suggests unrest is not over . By Rana Rahimpour, BBC Persian. Iran has experienced an internet blackout since Saturday afternoon, when For us journalists based outside Iran , it has been very difficult to get a real sense of how widespread the protests are . But the fact that the internet is

Iran 's internet blackout has entered its fifth day as the government continues to restrict citizens' access to the web amid protests over fuel price hikes. According to internet mapping non-profit NetBlocks, Iran 's connection began to drop in the city of Mashhad on Friday evening local time.

Amnesty International has said that more than 100 Iranians were killed in the protests, some by security forces using live ammunition to disperse and intimidate crowds. The government, which has portrayed the protesters as rioters and thugs inspired and paid by foreigners, has called the Amnesty report propaganda.

“Any casualty figures not confirmed by the government are speculative and unreliable, and in many cases part of a disinformation campaign waged against Iran from outside the country,” Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran’s United Nations mission, said Wednesday in a Twitter post.

A spokesman for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the elite force responsible for national security, said that several leaders of the unrest with dual citizenship and ties to foreign governments had been arrested. The semiofficial Fars News Agency reported that rioters had looted and burned chain stores in a number of Tehran suburbs, and that some had “received $60 for each place set on fire.” The Fars account did not specify who had supposedly provided that money.

Khamenei says enemy 'repelled' in protest-hit Iran

  Khamenei says enemy 'repelled' in protest-hit Iran Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the enemy had been "repelled" in the country where dozens are thought to have died in violent protests sparked by a petrol price hike. "We have repelled the enemy."Demonstrations broke out in the sanctions-hit Islamic republic on Friday after it was announced the price of petrol would be raised by as much as 200 percent.

The regime in Iran has a history of suppressing protests and making small concessions to try to relieve the pressure caused by the demonstrations. A leaked version of the 2018 budget sparked anger in December over funding for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and cuts to public subsidies.

The head of Iran 's Revolutionary Guards has declared the defeat of the "sedition" in the country, referring to a wave of anti-government protests . Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari made the announcement as tens of thousands of people attended pro -government rallies called to counter the

Despite the government’s clampdown on internet connectivity and censorship of what could be officially reported, Iranians who saw or participated in the protests found workarounds to transmit video and text of what they had witnessed.

The videos and postings, although anecdotal, depicted fear, bitterness and anxiety.

Pejman Gholipour, 18, for example, went shopping Monday in the city of Karaj for a suit to wear to his brother’s wedding. On Wednesday, his family held a funeral for him in their coastal town of Langaroud, according to an Iranian journalist, Yasin Namakchian.

Mr. Gholipour had been caught up in one of the protests when security forces opened fire and he was struck. Mr. Namakchian, who is from the same city as Mr. Gholipour, announced his death on Twitter.

Not far from where Mr. Gholipour was killed, an unidentified young man’s lower leg was nearly severed by a bullet. A video showed protesters dragging him on the ground in the midst of clashes and sirens. Someone shouted “Stop, wrap his leg!” Blood oozed from his jeans as his partly severed leg dangled, according to a video shared on social media by another journalist in Iran.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that the government had vanquished what he called foreign enemies instigating the unrest and that calm and order had been restored.

Iran's internet has been shut down for days amid protests

  Iran's internet has been shut down for days amid protests A government-imposed internet blackout continues after more than 90 hours.NetBlocks, an internet access watchdog, said access to internet in Iran via fixed-line and mobile providers has been almost entirely cut off since Saturday.

Recent protests kicked off by a rise in fuel prices last week have been a security matter and not carried out by the people, Iran 's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday in remarks published by his official website. "Friends and enemies should know we have pushed the enemy back

The head of Iran 's Revolutionary Guards said Wednesday that a string of anti-government protests were over after six days of unrest.

But Mr. Rouhani’s public show of bravado and unity belied signs of severe strain within the government hierarchy over the gasoline price increases and the response. Iranian media reported that during an emergency government meeting the same day, Mr. Rouhani argued with a conservative politician who had questioned him on the price increases and that Mr. Rouhani had stormed out.

What started as relativity peaceful demonstrations over the increases shifted within days to a violent revolt against the system. As security forces were mobilized to stop them, the protesters became more brazen, suggesting a new phase in the dynamic of resistance and repression that has punctuated Iran’s history since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In many cities large and small, the streets look like war zones. Smoke and fire engulfed multiple buildings, banks and shops. Shattered glass and debris spread across major roads with no sign of commerce or traffic.

Three residents of Tehran reached by phone said that the affluent northern part of the city was quiet, but that unrest persisted in middle-class and working-class neighborhoods. They said the capital had the appearance of a heavy security zone, with swarms of anti-riot police on motorcycles and Special Forces lined up on nearly every major road. Plainclothes Basij militia members were also out on the streets.

“It’s definitely not normal. We are not leaving the house unless we have to and nearly all official business has come to a halt,” said Sara, a translator in Tehran who did not want her last name published. She said patients at her husband’s medical clinic had canceled and many people were reluctant to send their children to school.

Iranians grapple with internet outages amid protests

  Iranians grapple with internet outages amid protests At its lowest point, Iran's connectivity to the outside world fell to 4 percent of ordinary levels, according to the non-profit group Netblocks.Protests erupted across the country after Iran's government announced Friday that it was going to start rationing gasoline and increase fuel prices by 50 percent. Reports of casualties linked to the government's crackdown are mixed, but human rights group Amnesty International said Tuesday it believes more than 100 people have been killed during the protests.

The violent protests across Iran were triggered by a sharp rise in petrol prices over the weekend (Image: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images). Protestors stormed banks, petrol station and government buildings and set them ablaze (Image: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The protests that rattled Iranian authorities over the past week may have ebbed for now, but their underlying causes remain and will be difficult to solve.

The mayor of Shiraz, where clashes have been severe, said on Wednesday that transportation infrastructure in four of the city’s districts have been destroyed. The owner of a popular hypermarket, Refah, the Iranian equivalent of Walmart, said shops in three of its locations had been ransacked.

Even political figures appeared bolder in their criticism of the government. One of Iran’s most prominent political activists close to the reformist faction, Abulfazl Ghadiani, issued a statement blaming Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has thrown his weight behind the gas increase policy and effectively shut the door to any reconsideration.

“The main and final person responsible for the blood being spilled is Mr. Khamenei. He must be held accountable,” Mr. Ghadiani said.

As news of the unrest dominated, the judiciary quietly moved to close a contentious espionage case against wildlife conservationists whose plight had gripped both Iranians and the international community. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence had concluded that the conservationists, from the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, were not spies. But the Revolutionary Guards, who operate a parallel intelligence bureaucracy, prosecuted the charges anyway.

One defendant, Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian American from Connecticut, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and a co-defendant, Niloufar Bayani, a former project consultant and scientist for the United Nations environment agency, was sentenced to eight. They were both convicted by a Revolutionary Court for collaborating “with an enemy state.” The authorities also seized Ms. Bayani’s income from her United Nations employment.

Four other co-defendants received sentences of between six and eight years. Two remaining co-defendants still await their verdict, according to an account posted by the Center for Human Rights in Iran.

Iran Holds Pro-Government Rallies After Crackdown on Protesters .
Thousands rallied in several Iranian cities on Friday in a state-organized show of support for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following a crackdown on anti-government protests. © Rainer Puster/Getty Images Iran: US Navy veteran being held over 'private complaint'. Television channels showed crowds chanting in support of the Islamic Republic and vowing “death to America” in Mashhad, Shiraz, Qom and Esfahan. The vast majority appeared to be conservative supporters of the cleric-led establishment who often attend Friday prayers.

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