Our Enemy Is Not US : Iran Protesters Demand Leaders Quit After Plane Downed
Protests erupted across Iran for a second day on Sunday, increasing pressure on the Islamic Republic’s leadership after it admitted its military shot down a Ukrainian airliner accidentally , despite days of denials that Iranian forces were responsible .
FILE PHOTO: a lady holds an image of newlyweds, victims of the crash of the Boeing 737-800 plane, flight PS 752, as people gather to point out their sympathy in Tehran, Iran January 11, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY a 3rd PARTY/File Photo
“They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is true here,” one group of protesters chanted outside a university in Tehran, consistent with video posted on Twitter.
Other posts showed demonstrators outside a second university and a gaggle of protesters marching to Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, also as protests in other cities.
Some state-affiliated media carried reports of the university protests, which followed demonstrations on Saturday sparked by Iran’s admission that its military mistakenly shot down the plane on Wednesday, killing all 176 aboard, at a time when Tehran feared U.S. air strikes.
The Ukraine International Airlines plane was downed minutes after beginning from Tehran bound for Kiev on Wednesday. Many on board were Iranians with dual citizenship, while 57 were holders of Canadian passports.
Residents of the capital told Reuters that police were call at force on Sunday. Some protesters in Azadi Square first called on officers there to hitch them, then turned their anger on the authorities, chanting anti-government slogans including “Down with the dictator” – a regard to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, consistent with social media posts and Iranian media reports.
The semi-official ILNA press agency said police moved to disperse the protesters, who it said numbered as many as 3,000. Videos posted online showed demonstrators running from police who used batons and teargas.
Reuters couldn’t authenticate the videos.
Public anger boiled up following days of denials by the military that it had been responsible for the crash, issued whilst Canada and therefore the us said it appeared that Iranian air defenses had shot down the airliner, probably in error.
“Apologise and resign,” Iran’s moderate Etemad daily wrote during a banner headline on Sunday, saying the “people’s demand” was that those liable for mishandling the crisis quit.
The latest unrest adds to mounting pressure on the Iranian authorities, who are struggling to stay the crippled economy afloat under stringent U.S. sanctions.
Demonstrations against a hike in fuel prices turned political last year, sparking the bloodiest crackdown within the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic. About 1,500 people were killed during but fortnight of unrest that started on Nov. 15, three Iranian Interior Ministry officials told Reuters, although international rights groups put the figure much lower and Iran called the report “fake news.”
After saying on Saturday that he was “inspired” by the courage of the demonstrators, U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “To the leaders of Iran – don’t KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and therefore the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free!”
Later on Sunday, Trump said on Twitter he didn’t care if Iran agrees to barter with the us , after a senior adviser suggested the Islamic Republic would haven’t any choice but to comply with talks.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani apologized for what he said was a “disastrous mistake”. But a top Revolutionary Guards commander added to public anger when he said he had told the authorities on an equivalent day because the crash that an Iranian missile had brought down the plane.
The Guards’ top commander, Hossein Salami, said that “we are more upset than anyone over the incident,” state media reported. Another commander said Iran didn’t shall conceal the cause.
But others said Iran’s enemies, a term usually wont to ask Washington and its allies, were exploiting the incident.
“Iran’s enemies want to require revenge on the Guards for a military mistake,” said Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative to the Quds Force, the elite overseas Guards unit that Soleimani headed, state media reported.
Iranian officials sought to portray the plane disaster as a second blow to a nation mourning after Soleimani’s death.
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