Iran stages pro-government rallies, cleric urges firm punishment for protest leaders
Tens of thousands of government supporters rallied across Iran on Friday, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and accusing arch-enemy the United States of instigating the biggest anti-government protests for nearly a decade, state TV reported, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Tehran’s Friday prayer leader called on authorities to deal “firmly” with those responsible for igniting over a week of demonstrations, in which 22 people were killed and more than 1,000 people were arrested, according to Iranian officials.
“But those ordinary Iranians who were deceived by these American-backed rioters should be dealt with based on Islamic clemency,” cleric Ahmad Khatami told worshippers at Tehran university, TV reported.
Khatami also called on the government to “pay more attention to people’s economic problems.”
Protests erupted on December 28 in the holy Shi‘ite city of Mashhad after the government announced plans to raise fuel prices and dismantle monthly cash handouts to lower-income Iranians.
Unrest spread to more than 80 cities and rural towns as thousands of young and working class Iranians voiced anger at graft, unemployment and a deepening gap between rich and poor.
Some 42,000 people took part in the unrest across the country, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli was quoted as saying by state TV.
To try to allay tensions, the government suspended its planned fuel price hikes and cash handout cuts. Ali Rabiei, Iran’s minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, said the government had plans to create over 900,000 jobs by March 2019, the state news agency IRNA reported on Friday.
The authorities have produced no evidence of a U.S. role in the demonstrations, which have lacked a unifying leader.
Related news releases
- 18.01.2018Bus catches fire in Kazakhstan, killing 52
- 18.01.2018Palestinian teen ordered held until end of Israeli military trial
- 18.01.2018North Korea rejects sanctions talk, ready for 'successful' Olympics: diplomat
- 17.01.2018Syria talks to be held in Vienna next week
- 17.01.2018North, South Korea to march together under one flag at Winter Olympics
- 17.01.2018Date set for Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi
- 17.01.2018Iran’s President has called a top priority for the Islamic world
- 16.01.2018UN rapporteur on Myanmar to meet refugees in Bangladesh
- 16.01.2018PYD/PKK activities in Afrin seen from Turkish border
- 16.01.2018Japan apologizes for false North Korean missile alert
- 16.01.2018Militant ambush kills 5 paramilitary troops in Pakistan
- 16.01.2018Barzani's party to boycott election
- 15.01.2018North Korean orchestra to perform in South during Olympics amid easing tensions
- 15.01.2018Erdogan vows Turkey will crush 'terror army' in northern Syria
- 15.01.2018UAE says Qatari jet fighters intercepted civilian flights
- 14.01.2018Iraqi PM announces coalition for May election
- 14.01.2018South Korea and North Korea to hold working-level talks on January 15
- 14.01.20184 schoolchildren drown in India as boat capsizes
- 13.01.2018Turkish military convoy dispatched to Syrian border
- 13.01.2018Erdoğan says Turkey will clear border of YPG terrorists
- 13.01.2018Iran rejects Trump's call for changes to nuclear deal
- 13.01.2018Agenda of Nazarbayev-Trump talks revealed
- 13.01.2018Nearly 2,000 Palestinians clash with Israeli forces in Gaza, West Bank
- 12.01.2018Israel to close 7 diplomatic mission worldwide: Haaretz
- 12.01.2018Unidentified gunman kills 4 women in western Iran
- 11.01.2018Magnitude 4.7 earthquake hits western Iran
- 10.01.2018Iranian FM Zarif to visit Moscow today
- 10.01.2018UN Security Council to discuss humanitarian situation in Syria’s Raqqa at Russia’s request
- 09.01.2018Bomb hits police vehicle in Pakistan's Balochistan, 7 killed
- 09.01.2018Turkey summons Russian, Iranian envoys over Syria Safe Zone violation - UPDATED
- 09.01.2018Khamenei: Recent damage inflicted on Iran by U.S. will gain a response
- 09.01.2018Seoul-Pyongyang talks on participation of North Korea in Olympic Games kick off
- 08.01.2018Husseinali Amiri: "Development of relations with Azerbaijan is Iran's strategic policy"
- 08.01.20187 Houthi rebels killed in Yemen’s Taiz
- 08.01.2018Gun battle in Jammu Kashmir kills 3
- 07.01.2018Over 30 undocumented migrants held in Turkey
- 05.01.2018Storm causes severe power outages in thousands of homes in New Zealand
- 05.01.2018Suicide attack kills 10 in Afghan capital
- 04.01.2018Envoy slams US attempts to intervene in Iran’s domestic affairs
- 04.01.2018Russia says two military personnel killed in Hmeymim airbase shelling on December 31
- 06.01.2018Yemeni Chief of General Staff Injured in Mine Blast Near Saudi Border
- 06.01.2018Four policemen killed in blast in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore
- 06.01.2018Eleven Saudi princes detained following protest over utility bills
- 05.01.2018North Korea agrees to talks after U.S., South Korea postpone military drills
- 05.01.2018UN experts urge Iran to respect rights of protesters, end internet crackdown
- 05.01.2018North Korea accepts January 9 talks offer from South Korea