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World Iran protests spur tensions between US, Europe

06:15  05 january  2018
06:15  05 january  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Trump administration responds to Iran protests: "The world is watching"

  Trump administration responds to Iran protests: President Trump took to Twitter to slam what he described as the regime's "corruption & its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism abroad."The protests were sparked this week by anger over economic issues — prices of basic goods like eggs and poultry have surged. Thousands have since taken to the streets of several cities in Iran, and demonstrators have criticized Iran's government during the protests.

Tension is brewing between the US and Europe over how the international community should address the deadly protests in Iran , several diplomats and Trump administration officials told CNN.

Tension is brewing between the US and Europe over how the international community should address the deadly protests in Iran , several diplomats Clashes overnight between protesters and security forces killed nine people. State television reported that six of these deaths occurred after rioters

Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017.Students protested in a third day of demonstrations, videos on social media showed, but were outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images): Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017. Students protested in a third day of demonstrations, videos on social media showed, but were outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images) © STR/AFP/Getty Images Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017. Students protested in a third day of demonstrations, videos on social media showed, but were outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Tension is brewing between the US and Europe over how the international community should address the deadly protests in Iran, several diplomats and Trump administration officials told CNN.

While the US and its European partners -- including the United Kingdom, France and Germany -- all fundamentally support the right of Iranian demonstrators to peacefully protest, they disagree in their analysis of where the situation on the ground is headed and over the strategic value of ramping up the rhetoric publicly, sources said.

Report: 2 protesters in western Iran killed at night rally

  Report: 2 protesters in western Iran killed at night rally Two protesters taking part in demonstrations roiling Iran were killed at a rally overnight, a semi-official news agency reported Sunday, the first deaths attributed to the ongoing protests. The demonstrations, which began Thursday over the economic woes plaguing Iran, appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country's disputed 2009 presidential election.

Iran protests spur tensions between Trump admin and Europe . "The United States has spoken clearly and unequivocally," Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday. "Unfortunately, many of our European partners, as well as the United Nations, have thus far failed to

Tensions have ratcheted up between the US and Iran following Washington's decision this month to try and cut Iranian oil exports to zero and to send a US aircraft carrier strike group to the Gulf in response to an unspecified threat. "I don't expect to see a full-scale land invasion, but I'm watching for

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has gone all in with its very vocal support of the demonstrators and harsh condemnation of the Iranian government.

The differences may manifest themselves in public Friday afternoon, when the United Nations Security Council holds a meeting on the Iran protests.

"The United States has spoken clearly and unequivocally," Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday. "Unfortunately, many of our European partners, as well as the United Nations, have thus far failed to forcefully speak out on the growing crisis in Iran. It's time for them to stand up."

Senior administration officials told CNN that, on principle, the US thinks that supporting the protesters is morally the right thing to do because when people risk their lives for expanded freedoms they should never wonder where America stands.

Haley: Iran 'tested by its own citizens'

  Haley: Iran 'tested by its own citizens' Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday Iran's government is "being tested by its own citizens" after three days of protests against the clerical regime. "We pray that freedom and human rights will carry the day," she said in a statement.Haley's comments echoed those of US President Donald Trump, who earlier Sunday said the United States was watching closely for human rights violations."Big protests in Iran. 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," Trump tweeted.

Tension is brewing between the US and Europe over how the international community should address the deadly protests in Iran , several diplomats and Trump administration Iranian protests spur tensions between the Trump administration and Europe cnn.it/2E9j6Mq pic.twitter.com/6tDfpO7KHk.

The US has blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the region, claims Iran calls "unfounded". Iran has denied the allegations. Tensions were further fuelled on Monday when Iran said its stockpile of low-enriched If direct conflict does break out between Washington and Tehran, it will most likely

But officials also said it serves American interests because they are undermining a regime identified as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"The protests are weakening the regime and we see more fissures in the foundation," one senior official told CNN.

While the White House has not definitely said whether it supports regime change in Iran, some European allies have interpreted the administration's aggressive public response as calling for just that. European nations see US expectations as unrealistic, diplomats told CNN.

"It is healthy for the West that the Iranian people are openly criticizing the regime policies we don't like ... but the Trump policy and tone seems very ideological," a Western diplomat said. "This is not regime collapse, so their hopes that they are are not grounded in reality."

While they may not be "revolutionary," the protests are a "genuine problem for the (Iranian) government. People are protesting the economy, and the regime is not well placed to fix the economy," the Western diplomat said, adding that the situation "gives US and European policymakers something to work with." 

Iran protests: EU treads carefully as Trump lashes out

  Iran protests: EU treads carefully as Trump lashes out If US President Donald Trump has wasted no time in offering vocal support to Iran's anti-government protesters, Europe's governments are treading a much more delicate diplomatic line. European leaders have largely stuck to bland expressions of concern as the demonstrations have spiralled into unrest that has left at least 21 people dead -- far from Trump's outspoken tweets against a "brutal and corrupt" regime.

Tensions between the US and Iran can be traced back to Iran 's Islamic Revolution in 1979, which overthrew the pro -Western Shah and established a radical anti- US regime in its place. But relations have been particularly fraught between the two nations since President Trump took office in 2017.

American officials have suddenly raised the stakes in the long-simmering tensions between the United States and Iran , pointing to new intelligence that they say suggests an imminent threat to American interests in the Middle East.

But uncertainty over how long the protests will continue has prompted European countries to collectively take a much more cautious approach to what it says publicly than the US.

"The Europeans are trying to be much more measured and just defend the principles of freedom of assembly and emphasize the Iranians' right to demonstrate," the Western diplomat told CNN. "We don't want to be naive or get overexcited." 

While all sides seem to agree on what they would ultimately like to see happen in Iran, European diplomats have told CNN that there is a gap over how to accomplish those goals and what to say publicly.

European diplomats have said US rhetoric is feeding the Iranian regime's narrative and that falling in line with the Trump administration's messaging would only compound the problem.

"The worst thing is for everyone to be siding with Trump cheering them on," the Western diplomat told CNN, noting that the Iranian regime is already manipulating US and European comments to discredit the protests and claim they are the result of foreign interference.

Russia says US 'looking for reasons' to pressure Iran

  Russia says US 'looking for reasons' to pressure Iran Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Friday said Washington is "looking for reasons" to pressure Iran on its nuclear programme. Ryabkov was responding to US Vice President Mike Pence who this week said Washington will "not remain silent on Iran" and called for a replacement to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. "If (the US) is looking for reasons to increase pressure on Iran that have nothing to do with the (nuclear) deal, and that's how it looks like from what we see, then this is an unworthy method that should not be used by a great power," Ryabkov said.

Published on: Thu, 04 Jan 2018 23:55:35 UTC News Agency: CNN Description: Tension is brewing between the US and Europe over how the international community should address the deadly protests in Iran , several diplomats and Trump administration officials told CNN.

The 2017–2018 Iranian protests refer to a series of public protests occurring in various cities throughout Iran beginning on 28 December 2017 and continuing into 2018.

"The US can help keep social media open, help track spending of the regime. But the most useful thing we can do is shut up," the diplomat said.

Getting Europe to talk

France, Germany, the UK and the US State Department had planned on putting out a strongly worded condemnation of the Iranian government on Tuesday but that fell apart mainly because of some not wanting to be connected with US policy, diplomats told CNN.

"On this issue, like on all the issues regarding democracy and human rights, France, who has expressed itself on a national basis, favors the EU framework for its statements," a French diplomat said when asked why his country did not want to sign a joint statement with the US.

Senior administration officials said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson early on saw a need for a statement supporting the protesters and tried to get a number of European countries to sign on.

While no party disagreed on the substance of the statement, the Europeans preferred to have the European Union issue a statement for a variety of reasons, the administration officials said.

The US says Europeans were pushing Italian politician Federica Mogherini -- the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy at the EU -- for days to make a statement -- and in the end tried to leverage US efforts to force her hand into finally issuing the statement.

"Mogherini failed to see that violence against peaceful protesters required a clear statement of support. She was silent for six days while people died. We were frustrated, European governments were frustrated and we all were disappointed," one senior administration official told CNN.

Tuesday, the EU said it was "closely following the ongoing demonstrations in Iran, the increase of violence and the unacceptable loss of human lives."

CNN's Richard Roth and Michelle Kosinski contributed to this report.

Europe, Iran to back nuclear deal as Trump decision looms .
Europe and Iran are to put on a united front in support of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal at talks in Brussels Thursday as Washington mulls reimposing sanctions on Tehran. The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France will unite to defend the accord, which curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for the relaxing of punishing sanctions but which US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised and threatened to leave.

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