Protests in Iran continue

More protests took place in Iran yesterday as reports emerged that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had been deployed to ensure security in Tehran.

Demonstrations against the government took place in Behbahan, Tabriz, Ahvaz, Gohardasht and Eslamabad-e-Gharb yesterday. At least 22 people have now been killed during five days of unrest.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday blamed the protests on foreign powers using “money, weapons, politics and (the) intelligence apparatus, to create problems for the Islamic system, the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution”. He added that “what prevents enemies from exerting their atrocities is the spirit of courage, sacrifice, and faith within the nation”.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called this claim “complete nonsense,” adding that “the demonstrations are completely spontaneous… this is the precise picture of a long oppressed people rising up against their dictators”.

Prime Minister Theresa May called on Iran to facilitate a “meaningful debate about the legitimate and important issues that the protesters are raising”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, who called for “restraint”. A visit by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian planned for later this week has now been postponed.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a statement expressing his regret for “the reported loss of life and hope further violence will be avoided”.