Iran Daily: Rouhani Appeals for Protest to Stay Within Limits

Security forces bar the way of protesters in Tehran, December 30, 2017

On the fourth day of demonstrations across Iran, President Hassan Rouhani has appealed for protest within limits.

In his first statement since thousands took to the streets in almost Iranian cities last Thursday, Rouhani said on State TV:

It should be clear to everyone that we are people of freedom. According to the constitution and citizens’ rights, people are free to express their criticism and to protest.

However, we need to pay attention to the manner of that criticism and protest. It should be in such a way that it will lead to the improvement of the people and state.

Rouhani’s remarks on Sunday night were a contrast to the Supreme Leader’s denial of dissent in June 2009, days after many hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched in protest over the disputed Presidential election.

So far Ayatollah Khamenei has made no comment on the current rallies, spurred by economic discontent and demands for change both in domestic politics and in Iran’s foreign intervention.

But Rouhani emphasized that there was a line which cannot be crossed: “People have the right to protest, but those demonstrations should not make the public feel concerned about their lives and security.”

And the President offered no concrete measures to address the economic concerns of protesters. There was no reconsideration of the Government budget, criticized for the imposition of new taxes, reduction in subsidies, and decreased investment in infrastructure. He did not speak in detail about the corruption and mismanagement which has fuelled anger, or offer steps to slow the increase in unemployment.

Unsurprisingly, he also did not speak of changes to the Iranian system — including the position of the Supreme Leader, who has been widely challenged in the marches — or of Iran’s interventions in areas such as Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon.

While news of the demonstrations was slowed on Sunday because of the Iranian regime’s disruption of communications, footage eventually testified to more gatherings in many Iranian cities. In some places, security forces tried to disrupt rallies with the use of clubs, and there was a large security presence in the center of Tehran.

Authorities have restricted Internet speed. On Sunday, State TV confirmed the blocking of the message applications Instagram and Telegram, the latter after it refused to shut down channels advocating peaceful protest.

The Interior Minister, Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli, said:

“The events and incidents in recent days have caused concern, unease and unhappiness for our dear people….

[Protesters] are after causing violence and fear. Of course, such behavior will be smashed.

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  1. Rouhani blames Saudis for inciting the recent protests/riots:

    “They (the Saudis) have blatantly said that we will create problems in Tehran,”

    Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown prince, stated last year that “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia,” Prince Mohammed said, “instead, we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

    • Why this nonsense Razmjoo? Hezbollahi foreign agent traitors running the country is not the same as some idiot Saudi prince saying something irrelevant. Isn’t it?

      • How do you know the MBS statement about preemptively “bringing the war into Iran” is irrelevant to the current stirrings of unrest there?

        The Sauds, Israel and Trumpler are all on record that this is part of their general gameplan.

  2. Some of the “nationalist” slogans chanted during these “protests”:

    “We are Aryans, we don not accept Arabs!” (2m Iranians are of Arab ethnicity)

    “Rest in peace, Reza Shah!” (The Iranian dictator who was the last Shah’s father)

    “Islam can go to hell. Iran, Iran, Iran alone!”

    “Let Palestine and Syria go to the dogs. We care only for Iran.”

    • Fantastic. Let’s see 10 Amniyatis killed for each protester killed. 12 protesters have been killed. So we need to kill another 120 Amniyatis starting from Âqâ himself. Razmjoo, what is your ranking among the Amniyatis?

  3. The army or the more moderate parts of the sepah need to get involved or they will crush this movement in a week or so yet again.

    Next to that they need a proper national strike even if just for a day. That would change everything.

    • 1. “The army … need to get involved” — Sorry but IRGC have already thought of that, and been working for a mere 38 years to render the Shah’s remote-controlled army incapable of another coup … in which time it is safe to assume they have fairly comprehensively weeded out the Yanki/Britzie rot. For comparison, look what Tayyip has done to his nest of CIA-cornfed putschists in a mere 18 months … purged it with flamethrowers, that’s what.

      The Revolutionary Guards state that their role in protecting the Islamic system is preventing foreign interference as well as coups by the military or “deviant movements”.

      The Revolutionary Guards have roughly 125,000 military personnel … It also controls the paramilitary Basij militia which has about 90,000 active personnel [i.e. staff, plus 600,000 mission-ready volunteers and several millions more in reserve].

      2. If “the more moderate parts of the sepah [IRGC]” are not loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei, then they are loyal only to themselves, as embodied by Ahmadinejad for example. While they ultimately may take over in any case, would their rule be significantly different from the current system, which they to a considerable extent practically own, apart from the ladies maybe being allowed into football matches?

          • PS: The Marxist idea of “a revolutionary overthrow of the status quo” entails the working class taking power for the betterment of society, not merely inciting ‘rebel’ spasms which result in futile death tolls for it while serving as a catspaw to advance the filthy goals of Yanki imperialism.

    • National strike makes little difference in a place like IRI. 65% of people are employed by government producing essentially nothing. The other 35% can always be bought off or replaced by the bayonet.

      However you are right about the military. But Erdogan showed that using Islam, you can even neutralize a military coup.

      • 1. Prey explain exactly how Afshin is right about the Iranian Army [Artesh]?

        Are you implying there is any realistic prospect that this body will split to or side with the current batch of protesters and, if so, what is the evidential basis for this outburst of optimism?

        2. What reason is there to think that the IRGC, after 38 years on the job, does not have any such remnant tendencies in it completely infiltrated & locked down?

        3. If it were that way inclined, why did the Artesh not defend the “Green Revolution” in 2009, when Mousavi & Co. had a lot more support [both internal and external] and a coherent set of demands?

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