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Iran Tehran blames ‘armed protesters’ as death toll rises amid mass protests

TWELVE people have already been killed in continuing protests across Iran, with armed groups trying to take over unidentified security depots, state TV reported today.

“Some armed protesters tried to take over some police stations and military bases but faced serious resistance from security forces,” it said.

The protests began on Thursday in Iran’s second city Mashhad over economic issues and have since spread, with some protesters chanting against the government and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

Tehran has blocked access to Instagram and the popular messaging app Telegram used by activists to co-ordinate activity.

President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged justifiable public anger over the flagging economy, but he and others warned that the government wouldn’t hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.

That was echoed by judiciary head Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who urged the authorities to strongly confront rioters.
“I demand all prosecutors across the country to get involved and the approach should be strong,” he said.

US President Donald Trump, who has been meddling in support of protests in Iran on his Twitter account, described the country as “failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama administration.”

However, most Iranians dislike him because of his hostility to the international nuclear agreement and his visa ban on Iranians.

Iran’s Tudeh Party of Iran (TPI) communists urged expansion of “the broad protest movement of the masses against the dictatorial regime,” urging commitment “through progressive and national slogans, towards developing and united action of various social strata, from the workers and working people to the militant youth, students and women.”

The TPI strongly condemned “brutal suppression of the popular protests by the repressive forces of the regime.”

It warned that the “regime is rapidly preparing for brutal and bloody suppression of the people’s movement. The only effective way to confront this approach of the tyrannical regime is to widely mobilise the popular forces.”

The communists drew inspiration from the 1979 overthrow of the Pahlavi dictatorship, recalling the role of the working class in organising nationwide strikes, especially in the oil industry, to support massive demonstrations.

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