Pence Says US Is 'Natural Ally' For Iranians Seeking Freedom

Turkey calls for avoiding external intervention in Iran

Trump's first reaction came Friday night on Twitter: "Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime's corruption & its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism overseas". In a video that went viral, a woman can be seen shouting "Death to Khamenei" at officers while they look on.

"The enemy is always looking for an opportunity and any crevice to infiltrate and strike the Iranian nation".

The protests - described as the largest public display of discontent since the 2009 Green Movement in Iran - have emerged against a backdrop of rising food and gasoline prices.

State TV said the demonstrations served as an "answer to the protests", which it blamed on "servants of the U.S".

Some cities of Iran have witnessed rallies in the past few days in protest at price hikes and economic woes.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini late Tuesday deplored "the unacceptable loss of human lives" and called on "all concerned to refrain from violence".

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations on January 3 charged that expressions of support for the protesters from Pence and Trump amount to meddling in Iran's internal affairs, while some outside experts have questioned whether the United States can do much to help people who take to the streets to question the government in Iran.

Protests against economic hardships and alleged corruption erupted in Iran's second city of Mashhad on Thursday and escalated across the country into calls for the religious establishment to step down.

Iran's foreign ministry said Trump was "wasting his time sending useless and insulting tweets" and would be better off focusing on "homeless and hungry people" in his own country.

Iran´s UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter that the United States government "has stepped up its acts of intervention in a grotesque way in Iran´s internal affairs and accused Washington of violating worldwide law and the principles of the UN charter".

"The economic situation is bad, people are suffering, people are not seeing results", said Ariannejad, who has lived in Canada for about 20 years but has family in Iran.

"Mr. Rohani says it's free for people to protest but we're scared of speaking".


With the failed promise of a quick recovery post the lifting of nuclear sanctions and cuts to subsidies, "It is no surprise. that the current protests in Iran have included slogans against investing resources in arenas outside of Iran", she said.

"We do have some freedom in Iran", Hamid Rahimi, a 33-year-old bank employee told AFP. Dozens have already been killed.

So far, while the authorities have threatened strong measures, in practice they have largely been restrained, arresting hundreds of people but holding back elite forces that have crushed past unrest.

President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the public's anger over the Islamic Republic's flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn't hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.

A statement from the French presidency said Macron called for "restraint", and both sides agreed to postpone an imminent visit to Tehran by the French foreign minister.

Other social-media videos from different Iranian cities showed clashes with security forces and a police station set alight.

In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside of Iran, people are affected by tear gas fired by anti-riot Iranian police to disperse demonstrators.

Many Tehranis agreed with his assessment.

In contrast, latest protests are isolated from other countries in the region.

Some of the areas experiencing violence also have complicated ethnic makeups, including Kurdish, Arab and Sunni minorities, hinting at long-standing grievances against the Shiite regime.

"The root of people's protests are merely their economic problems, the problem of youth unemployment", he said.

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