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World Protesters gather again in Iran, chant against authorities - Twitter posts

13:55  12 january  2020
13:55  12 january  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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Update

Scores of protesters gathered for a second day in Iran on Sunday chanting slogans against the authorities following the military's admission it had shot down a passenger plane in error after days denying it was to blame, social media posts showed.

The posts on Twitter could not immediately be verified by Reuters. But state-affiliated media had reported protests on Saturday night shortly after the Iranian military said it had brought down the Ukrainian plane on Wednesday and apologized.

"They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here," protesters who had gathered in the street outside a university in Tehran chanted. They also gathered in other cities.

Earlier

DUBAI, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Iranian protesters and newspapers piled pressure on the country's leadership and riot police stepped up their presence in Tehran on Sunday after Iran's military admitted that it had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner.

Riot police fired teargas at thousands of Iranians who had taken to the streets late on Saturday in the capital and other cities, many chanting "Death to the dictator", directing their anger at Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Its Missiles Did Little Damage, but Iran Has More Potent Weapons

  Its Missiles Did Little Damage, but Iran Has More Potent Weapons American military and intelligence officials were stunned at the precision, scale and sheer boldness of what they later concluded was an Iranian attack. Four months ago, a swarm of low-flying armed drones and cruise missiles struck oil tanks in the central hub of the Saudi petroleum industry, catching Washington by surprise and temporarily knocking out 5 percent of the world’s oil supply. Almost no country in the region — Israel may be the exception — could have defended against it.

Reports of the protests were carried by state-affiliated news agencies, while video clips circulated on social media.

Tehran residents told Reuters that police had stepped up their presence in the capital on Sunday morning.

"Apologize and resign," Iran's moderate Etemad daily wrote in a banner headline on Sunday, saying the "people's demand" was for those responsible for mishandling the plane crisis to quit.

All 176 people aboard the flight, many of them Iranians with dual citizenship, were killed.

Protests erupted after Saturday's admission that the military accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane minutes after take off on Wednesday, when Iranian forces were alert for U.S. reprisals after tit-for-tat strikes.

For days, Iranian officials had vigorously denied it was to blame, even as Canada, which had 57 citizens on the flight, and the United States said their intelligence indicated an Iranian missile was to blame, albeit probably fired in error.

Iran's president said it was a "disastrous mistake" and apologized. But a top Revolutionary Guards commander added to public anger about the delayed admission, when he said he had told the authorities a missile hit the plane the day it crashed.

'The world is watching': Trump tweets in support of Iran protests

  'The world is watching': Trump tweets in support of Iran protests "We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage," President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday."The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people," Trump tweeted in English and Farsi. "There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.

CHALLENGES

Another moderate daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami, or Islamic Republic, wrote in an editorial: "Those who delayed publishing the reason behind the plane crash and damaged people's trust in the establishment should be dismissed or should resign."

Criticism of the authorities in Iran is not unusual, but it tends to stay in narrow boundaries.

The press attacks and protests add to challenges facing the establishment, which in November faced the country's bloodiest unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

As Saturday's protests spread across Iran, including major cities such as Shiraz, Isfahan, Hamedan and Orumiyeh, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter: "We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage."

"There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching," he said, posting his tweets in both Farsi and English.

Britain said its ambassador in Iran had been briefly detained on Saturday by the authorities in Tehran. A news agency said he was detained outside a university for inciting protests.

Condemning the arrest, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Iran "can continue its march towards pariah status ... or take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards."

Protests inside Iran followed a build up of tension between Iran and the United States, which withdrew from Tehran's nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and then re-imposed sanctions that have steadily crippled the Iranian economy.

Iran’s Grim Economy Limits Its Willingness to Confront the U.S.

  Iran’s Grim Economy Limits Its Willingness to Confront the U.S. Iran is caught in a wretched economic crisis. Jobs are scarce. Prices for food and other necessities are skyrocketing. The economy is rapidly shrinking. Iranians are increasingly disgusted. Crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have severed Iran’s access to international markets, decimating the economy, which is now contracting at an alarming 9.5 percent annual rate, the International Monetary Fund estimated. Oil exports were effectively zero in December, according to Oxford Economics, as the sanctions have prevented sales, even though smugglers have transported unknown volumes.

'HORRIFIC'

On Jan. 3, a U.S. drone strike in Iraq killed prominent Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, responsible for building up Iran's network of regional proxy armies in Iraq and beyond, and Tehran responded with missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq.

No U.S. soldiers were killed, but in the tense hours after that, the Ukrainian Boeing 737 was cleared to take off from Tehran airport and then brought down by a missile fired in error by an operator who mistook the plane for an attacker.

"Shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific. Iran must take full responsibility," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Trudeau said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had committed to collaborating with Canadian investigators, working to de-escalate tensions in the region and continuing a dialogue.

Rallying to the establishment, Iranian lawmakers praised the elite force's commanders for courage in admitting the error, according to Fars, a news agency seen as close to the Guards, a parallel military set up to protect the theocratic system.

Iranian officials sought to portray the plane disaster as a second blow to a mourning nation after Soleimani's death in a U.S. drone strike.

Soleimani's funeral had prompted huge public gatherings, which the authorities described a show of national unity. But the displays of emotion have been swiftly overshadowed and protesters on Saturday tore up pictures of the slain general.

Public fury at Iran's authorities had grown as questions about the plane crash mounted. Iranians on social media asked why officials were busy fending off criticism from abroad rather than sympathizing with grieving families. Others asked why the plane was allowed to take off at a time of high tension.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Iran’s President Lashes Out at Europeans Over Crumbling Nuclear Deal .
Under growing pressure at home and abroad, Iranian leaders attempted on Wednesday to calm domestic anger over the downing of a passenger jet last week, while lashing out at European nations that have formally accused Iran of breaking the 2015 agreement to curb its nuclear program. In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani criticized — and appeared to threaten — Britain, France and Germany for officially accusing Iran on Tuesday of reneging on its commitments under the nuclear deal, a step that further isolates Iran internationally and that could lead to renewed United Nations sanctions.

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