Protests in Iran have left more than 143 people dead, as security officials responded to anti-government demonstrations with brutal force. Banks, government sites and security bases were attacked during the unrest.
The protests, which flared up in November over the government’s decision to raise oil prices in a bid to counter grueling U.S. sanctions on its oil sector, were followed by a nationwide internet blackout which lasted a week. The government-sanctioned blackout was one of the most sophisticated and complex shutdowns recorded in history, and left millions of Iranians unable to access the internet.
The Iranian government blamed the protests on foreign actors and external influences, and said it had arrested eight individuals with links to the CIA during the demonstrations.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would keep sanctioning Iranian officials for human rights abuses in Iran, and said that Washington had received nearly 20,000 messages, videos and pictures from Iranians which evidenced government abuse.
Iraq’s protests continued, as demonstrators took to the streets of Najaf to torch the Iranian consulate, whose employees had already been evacuated. Iraqi protestors are angry about Iran’s ongoing meddling inside the country’s political, security and economic affairs.
Over in Europe, France said it was seriously considering triggering a sanctions mechanism within the nuclear agreement after Iran continued scaling back its commitments within the deal. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Iran was legally justified in lowering its commitments after the U.S. pulled out of the deal, and criticized France for comments he called “irresponsible.”
- An almost complete internet blackout during the protests left Iranians unable to reach the outside world. But some protestors managed to break through the dark.
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- Protests inside Iraq over the Iranian government’s presence in the country are being linked to foreign mercenaries by Iranian officials.
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- As Iranian law ministers try to stem government corruption, matters seem to be getting worse as factional rivalries come to the surface.
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- And a Friday prayers leader in Iran’s capital Tehran, has criticized the regime for failing to create a better society.
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