Iranian regime in fear of the power of protests

A map shared by Iranian activists on social media showing the locations of anti-regime protests. Image via @lisadaftari

"All those who are at odds with the Islamic Republic have utilised various means, including money, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus, to create problems for the Islamic system, the Islamic Republic and the Islamic revolution". "The enemy is always looking for an opportunity and any crevice to infiltrate and strike the Iranian nation". They show how discontented Iranians are with increasing poverty, after years of repression.

A top Russian diplomat warned the United States not to meddle in Iran's affairs and suggested that Washington wants to use the unrest to undermine the Iran nuclear agreement. The local governor said the protesters were armed.

The Iran nuclear deal of 2015 unfroze billions of dollars in Iranian assets that will enrich government officials, but the people continue to lack true democracy or prosperity. Cash subsidies for millions of people, meanwhile, are proposed to be scrapped and fuel prices set to increase.Protesters also expressed frustration with the government's costly foreign entanglements; Iran is actively involved in various countries in the Middle East, for example spearheading the fight against opposition forces in Syria and lending support to Palestinian militant groups. Some videos circulated online show protesters welcoming police officers and demonstrating peacefully.

Turkish officials on Wednesday said Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told his Turkish counterpart during a phone call that he hopes the protests "will end in a couple of days".

Peek's comments come as the president and high-level officials in the Trump administration voice support for protesters in Iran.

He said the "people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime".

The deputy assistant secretary of State for Iraq and Iran said in a recent interview that the Trump administration is not pursuing regime change in Iran.

USA secondary sanctions and threats to pull out of the nuclear deal despite Tehran's compliance have contributed to Iran not fully benefiting from the nuclear deal. A statement on his website said he would address the nation about the events "when the time is right". "All the protesters are not guided by foreign elements; a number of them are the people who came to the streets due to their problems".

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi slammed on Tuesday the USA president for his rude comments, saying he should address his own country's problems instead of interfering in other countries.

Travel restrictions and moves by the government to shut down social media networks have limited the ability of journalists to cover the ongoing unrest, which Iranian state television says has killed 12 people.

What are the protests about? .

The violence has killed at least 21 people and seen hundreds more arrested by authorities. The demonstrations appear to have caught Iran's leadership off guard.

Hardliners have long opposed Mr. Rouhani's policies, especially his outreach to the West.The current wave of protests has sparked comparisons with the mass unrest in 2009 after the controversial re-election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Some protesters may also have objected, as Trump claimed in one of his tweets, to the fact that their wealth "is being stolen and squandered on terrorism".

Numerous protest chants are calling for the downfall of the entire Islamic regime, unlike the 2009 protesters who sought to strengthen reformists and work within the system.

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