Iran Daily: Regime Holds Rallies as Protests Ebb

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A pro-regime rally in an unnamed location in Iran (Tasnim)

Iran’s regime, trying to overcome a week of protests across the nation, held rallies on Wednesday and promised more for today and Friday.

State TV featured images of crowds in Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Bushehr, Abadan, Gorgan, and Qom yesterday in a display trying to counter demonstrations over political and economic issues that — in contrast to the mass protests in 2009 after the disputed Presidential election — have been spread across the country rather than concentrated in Tehran.

Today the pro-regime events are in Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Rasht, Yasoij, Ardabil, and Urmia. Tehran’s gathering will be after Friday prayers.

The regime initally tried a counter-rally last weekend — ironically, the eighth anniversary of its mass march to push aside the challenge of the Green Movement —but failed to get more than a few thousand people in Tehran and smaller gatherings elsewhere. Wednesday’s attempt appeared to be far more successful.

At the same time, in a notable contrast to 2009, some State media — probably reflecting the approach of the Rouhani Government — are playing up the initial validity of “peaceful protests” over economic issues while emphasizing that these were “overshadowed when armed elements and vandals showed up among ordinary protesters and began to launch attacks on public property, police stations and religious sites”.

The Intelligence Ministry declared that “terrorist cell missioned to provoke more unrests” had been broken up and its members arrested.

The protests, which escalated last Thursday in Iran’s second city Mashhad and soon spread to almost all Iranian cities, were less visible yesterday. There were reports from fewer towns and cities, and gatherings appeared to be small. A journalist in Tehran said, “Last night, there were dozens of anti-riot forces at the nearby square, now there are less than 10. Traffic looks normal.”

Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari declared an end to the protests and said that the “ringleaders of sedition” were quickly captured.

However, in a sign of fallout from the week’s event, Jafari appeared to blame former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his followers for the demonstrations. He said trouble had begun “with the invitation of a website tied to an individual who has been speaking about opposing the principles and values of the system these days”.

Jafari also implicitly chided the Government, saying the trouble had been compounded when officials had “lost control of cyberspace”.

It is widely believed that the initial protests in Mashhad were by hardliners, but that a far wider range of people and groups expanded the demonstrations.

Some Iranian officials have pointed at a link between Ahmadinejad, who is in a bitter battle with the Iranian judiciary, and conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, a Presidential candidate in 2017 who heads Iran’s largest religious foundation. Reports have also claimed that Ayatollah Alamolhoda, the well-known Friday Prayer Leader of Mashhad, has been summoned and rebuked for his role in the initial wave of protests.

Accusing the US

Meanwhile, the regime tried to turn attention to the US as the instigator of protests, writing to the UN Secretary General that the Trump Administration “flouted” international law and the principles of the UN Charter by supporting the unrest with “absurd tweets”.

Gholamali Khoshroo, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, said the US had “crossed every limit” by “inciting Iranians to engage in disruptive acts”:
“[The US] has stepped up its acts of intervention in a grotesque way in Iran’s internal affairs under the pretext of providing support for sporadic protests, which in several instances were hijacked by infiltrators.”

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32 COMMENTS

  1. “The regime initally tried a counter-rally last weekend — ironically, the eighth anniversary of its mass march to push aside the challenge of the Green Movement —but failed to get more than a few thousand people in Tehran and smaller gatherings elsewhere.”

    Misreported. The event was planned weeks if not months ago. It was merely coincidental that it occurred two days after the protests first broke out in Mashhad. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands attended nationwide, but many were put off by security fears.

  2. Iranians continue to rally against the violence of the past few nights: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/iranian-diplomat-charges-inciting-protests-180104081813194.html

    ” A few small and short-lived anti-government rallies have taken place overnight Wednesday in a few cities around the country. But what really is at play today are the pro-government, pro-establishment demonstrations and marches being held in major cities across Iran. This really is an effort by the government to bookend this whole episode. It illustrates to a domestic audience, but also to anyone watching from outside, that the government does enjoy support and that there are tens of thousands of people willing to rally on behalf of the government.”

  3. Intel officials admit possibility of foreign involvement in Iran protests/riots https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/it-s-not-revolution-yet-iran-s-regime-embarrassed-n834421

    Current intelligence officials declined to comment on whether the U.S. has or is playing any role in assisting the protesters. Among former CIA officers, some suggested the U.S. did not have the capacity to gin up unrest in Iran, while others said they would not rule it out. “The Israelis have a longstanding and broad network in the country.”

    • Probably should read this carefully: US officials did not “admit” any possibility of assisting protests. As is standard practice, they refused to comment on any US operations.

    • “The Israelis have a longstanding and broad network in the country.”

      Is this Jew baiting and anti-Semitism, Razmjoo? Are you proposing that Jews in Iran are to be rounded up?

    • Funny you should bring those up considering both Russia and Iran tried to subvert both movements and openly meddled in US affairs. Perhaps we should invite Iranian protestors to the white house and give them platforms in front of all our major media outlets the way Iran did with certain OWS useful idiots. I would give US intelligence agencies the green light to meddle as much as their hearts desired in response to numerous Iranian attempts at meddling. OH and BTW those movements flopped because they had a fraction of a fraction of legitimate support among the people. Not because the US government shut down the internet, sent threatening text messages, and tortured and murdered people. You know, the terrorist regime way.

      And Russia desperately needs to STFU given their long history of meddling in those very movements. It would be a shame if someone were to reveal all of Putin’s corrupt dealings. I’m not even sure why you post here. Who do you think you’re fooling with your whataboutism, conspiracy theories, and obviously absurd state produced propaganda? Looks like you’re mostly deluding yourself. Either way it’s not going to save the corrupt terrorist regime from the ash heap of history.

  4. “Fuat
    ‏ @fuadhud
    1h1 hour ago

    Mehr news agency says 3 policemen have been killed today during armed clashes in Khash, South-East Iran.”
    .
    The riots may be calming down in Tehran but there are plenty of places in Iran where they are getting worse (or should that be better?). Fuat has numerous tweets of different areas revolting against the Ayatollahs

  5. About the location of the pro gov protest it is Khuzestan province I think on the banners it is written Khuzestan

  6. Protests are continuing, both in the large cities and in smaller towns. As the internet has been effectively blocked, it is very hard to get details of events.

    Of most interest is that protesters happen to be from the lower middle-class and the working class. These are not the North Tehran/ student folks of 2009 but ordinary folks who would normally not be too political, and who the regime has always counted as its base. The regime has always gone out of its way to appease this class at the expense of other groups of Iranians. They often work for the government or receive benefits from the government and the molla run foundations. It appears that the traditional rapport between what is the largest segment of the population and the institutions of the regime is breaking down.

    How much of this is due to participation by ultra-conservative religious Ahmadinejad class of supporters is unknown. Normally this working and petit-bourgeois class would not be seeking democratic rights and liberties as understood by the educated and modernized folks. So it remains to be seen how they plan to present their political demands to the authorities. Can they be appeased with a change in the regime’s religious leadership with other hardliners that give lip service to their demands? There seems to be a wide mix of sentiments among the opposition. Can they keep this united front or will they peel off with sectarian demands that would eventually result in the demise of the opposition?

  7. Pro-establishment rallies continue for a third day: http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/01/05/547903/Iran-rallies-Tehran-Tabriz-Sari-Kerman

    “Peaceful protests against recent price hikes and the overall economic conditions last Thursday degenerated into violent melee by certain elements who were armed at times, running amok in a few towns.
    The turmoil marked rioters leading fire engines in one city into the crowd of people, killing two bystanders, and attacking a police station elsewhere. Over a dozen people were killed in the turmoil, including police. According to officials, some of the fatalities came even as security forces did not fire a single bullet. They said some rioters used shotguns and pistols to attack police and fire at the crowd of protesters.”

    • Interesting that Press TV continues to emphasize that majority of protesters were peaceful — marked shift from regime line in 2009….

      • You have misread it. It states that the protests were originally peaceful and focused on economic conditions, which is true. They were then hijacked by rioters who had a political agenda, which is also true.

        In 2009, mass rallies held in Tehran were acknowledged to be peaceful but illegal. But they were overshadowed by violence from the outset.

        • No, I didn’t misread it. And, no, the 2009 protests were never acknowledged as peaceful by the regime, which immediately proclaimed violence throughout Tehran.

  8. Ayatollah Khatami denounces new sedition, calls for economic assistance: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-rallies/iran-stages-pro-government-rallies-cleric-urges-firm-punishment-for-protest-leaders-idUSKBN1EU16G

    Those ordinary Iranians who were deceived by these American-backed rioters should be dealt based on Islamic clemency. The government needs to pay more attention to people’s economic problems. There are workers who say they have not received their salaries for months … These problems should be resolved.”

    • Not so simplistic. Is the regime going to be able to stop the diversion of oil income to looters and to foreign adventures? No. Is the regime going to liberalize and introduce law and order and judicial oversight of the economy? No. The only avenue open to them is to print money. So hyperinflation is coming.

      The regime has been saying exactly the same things for almost 40 years, and the economy has never improved. And that is why people are in the streets because they know that such statements are lies, and the only way Iranians can stop lies is to overthrow the illegitimate Nazi dictatorship.

  9. Archive: Leader tells Mousavi to pursue protest calmly, through legal channels: https://en.mehrnews.com/news/34345/Leader-tells-Mousavi-to-pursue-protest-calmly-through-legal

    In a meeting with Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Ayatollah Khamenei said that all issues must be resolved in a legal manner, like in previous elections in which certain individuals and candidates’ complaints were referred to the Guardian Council.The Leader also stated that there are provocative behind-the-scenes moves by the enemy meant to spark riots in the streets, adding, “It is necessary that activities are conducted with dignity.”

    • “Through legal channels” = No mass protests on streets, as Supreme Leader then made clear on June 19 speaking at Friday Prayers in Tehran

      • He said “Arm wrestling in the street must stop,” If Mousavi’s intention was to dispute the outcome, calling supporters into the streets was not the way to do this. What could such action achieve?

        • OK, so we’ve established that the Supreme Leader demanded no public protests.

          P.S. — Mousavi did not call more than a million Iranians into the streets on June 15. They did this of their own volition.

    • Mousavi is another discredited Reformist. People are in the streets shouting “Death to the Reformists”. And you are trying to resurrect this has-been? You seem not to understand or know what is happening.

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