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Iran Protests Live Blog: Jan. 1


Pro-government demonstrators hold banners during a march in Iran's southwestern city of Ahvaz on Jan. 3, 2018, as tens of thousands gathered across Iran in a massive show of strength for the Islamic rulers after days of deadly unrest.

1/1/18 8:45 p.m. -- A man "creating a disturbance" shot at police Monday with a hunting rifle, killing one officer and wounding three others, according to state media. The shooting happened in Najafabad.

-- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called out U.S. President Donald Trump after a series of tweets in support of the protests.

-- Russia weighed in, saying the demonstrations are an "internal affair" for Iran and external interference is unacceptable.

-- Media cited Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, as blaming the violence on social media. "Hashtags and messages about the situation in Iran come from the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia," he said. "What is happening on social networks concerning the situation in the country is a proxy war against the Iranian people."

-- Rouhani has acknowledged that Iranians have the right to protest legally, but urged national unity Monday as "the first and most important step at this stage."

-- A significant internet outage was reported across Iran on Monday afternoon, but some users said later it was working again.

1/1/18 5:53 p.m. -- Andrew Peek, U.S. State Department deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran, tells VOA that there could be sanctions against those who are responsible for attacks against the protesters: "We're considering a variety of options to hold those people accountable, including sanctions."​

1/1/18 4:15 p.m. -- Andrew Peek, U.S. State Department deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran tells VOA: "Well, these protests are indicative of what the United States government has said all along. The biggest victim of the Iranian government are the Iranian people. We are watching the events extremely closely. We continue to support the Iranian people, the president has been very clear about that. We call on the Iranian government to respect the right of their people to protest peacefully, to respect the right of free-flow information and not to use violence against peaceful protesters. These are basic human rights we think they should uphold."

1/1/18 3:15 p.m. -- Security forces in Iran on motorcycles attacking people on Workers Street in Tehran.

1/1/18 3:00 p.m. -- Video sent by unknown person to VOA Persian appears to show protesters using fire extinguishers.

1/1/18 2:01 p.m. -- Video sent by unknown person to VOA Persian appears to show Tehran's Revolution Square, where protesters appealed to security forces for help. "Police force, support [us]!"

1/1/18 1:53 p.m. -- VOA Persian links to video reportedly showing security forces firing weapons during a protest in Takestan, a city near Tehran.

1/1/18 1:22 p.m. -- Iranian Policeman Reported Killed, 3 Hurt

Jan 1. (Reuters) -- One police officer has been shot dead during protests in Iran and three have been wounded, a police spokesman said on Monday, the first reported security force fatality since anti-government demonstrations began last week.

"A rioter took advantage of the situation in the city of Najaf Abad and fired shots at police forces with a hunting rifle. As a result, three were wounded, and one was martyred," Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi was quoted as saying by Iranian state
television. It did not say when the incident took place.

1/1/18 1:19 p.m. --

1/1/18 1:10 p.m. -- VOA Persian Service: Gathering in #Tehran, Revolution Square, as mass protests in #Iran entered its fifth day. Some protesters chanting "death to dictator."

1/1/18 12:06 p.m. -- Supporters of Iranian protesters gather outside Iran's embassy in London.

1/1/18 11:14 a.m. --

1/1/18 11:06 a.m. --

1/1/18 10:55 a.m. --

1/1/18 10:44 a.m.

1/1/18 9:54 a.m. -- What we know so far:

-- Iran is experiencing its largest anti-government protests since the country’s disputed presidential election in 2009

-- Iran State TV reports at least 12 people have been killed during demonstrations in cities across the country since Thursday

-- Videos and photos posted on social media have shown groups of largely peaceful protesters criticizing the government and demanding freedom. Some videos have shown protesters clashing with police and vandalizing property

-- Iranian authorities have warned protesters against violence, but President Rouhani has also said people have the right to protest and criticize the government

-- Iranian authorities have blocked popular social-media websites.

-- President Donald Trump has criticized authorities for the social media controls, and on Monday tweeted support for the protesters, saying they want food and freedom.

-- The protests initially appeared to be a reaction to high food prices and unemployment. But they quickly evolved into expressions of anger against Iran's clerical leadership, including President Rouhani, who won re-election in May with promises to revive the economy.

1/1/18 8:58 a.m. -- Video sent to VOA Persian: Reportedly of Sunday midnight protests in Rasht, the capital city of northern Gilan province.

1/1/18 8:50 a.m. -- RFE/RL: A wide range of amateur video clips posted on social media from the evening of December 31 showed anti-government protests growing across Iran. RFE/RL cannot independently confirm the authenticity of each video clip.

1/1/18 8:34 a.m. -- Iran's president and judiciary chief issued fresh comments Monday about the ongoing protests.

The semi-official Fars News Agency reports that President Hassan Rouhani told a meeting with parliamentary committee heads that, "We believe what has been happening over the past several days may seem to be a threat, but it can be turned into an opportunity to see what the problem is."

State TV broadcast comments from Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the country's judiciary chief, who said, "Those who carry out acts of sabotage, riot and unrest, and set fire to public and private venues and properties, should be dealt with strongly."

1/1/18 7:44 a.m. --

1/1/18 7:26 a.m. -- Iran State TV reports 12 killed in protests

Jan 1. (AP) -- At least 12 people have been killed in the ongoing protests in Iran, and armed protesters have tried to take over police stations and military bases, state TV reported Monday.

The protests began Thursday in Mashhad over economic issues and have since expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

The state TV report said 10 were killed during clashes Sunday night, without elaborating. Two demonstrators were killed during a protest in western Iran late Saturday.

"Some armed protesters tried to take over some police stations and military bases but faced serious resistance from security forces," state TV reported. It did not say where those attacks occurred.

1/1/18 6:50 a.m. -- AFP: Rouhani Says Citizens will 'Deal With This Minority'

President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that the Iranian people would "respond to rioters and lawbreakers" protesting around the country in recent days.

"Our nation will deal with this minority who chant slogans against the law and people's wishes, and insult the sanctities and values of the revolution," he said in a statement on his official website.

"Criticism and protest are an opportunity not a threat. The nation will themselves respond to the rioters and lawbreakers."

1/1/18 6:36 a.m. -- Protests in Izeh, Khuzestan Province

Protests in Izeh, Khuzestan Province
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1/1/18 6 :11 a.m.

1/1/18 5:40 a.m. -- State TV says 10 killed "in several cities":

Jan. 1 (Reuters) - Ten people were killed during the street protests in Iran on Sunday, state television said on Monday without giving details.

"In the events of last night, unfortunately a total of about 10 people were killed in several cities," it said, while showing footage of damage from anti-government demonstrations.

1/1/18 4:51a.m. -- AP reports that Iranian state TV says 10 people have been killed amid nationwide protests, without elaborating.

1/1/18 3:22 a.m. -- ​(Reuters) Two people were killed in Iran's protests in a southwestern town, ILNA news agency on Monday quoted a local parliament member as saying.

That brought to at least four the number of fatalities in the most serious unrest in the country since 2009.

1/1/18 3:00 a.m. -- AP: Israeli minister wishes Iranian protesters 'success'

JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Israeli minister has wished Iranian protesters "success" but insists his country is not involved in the mass demonstrations that erupted in recent days.

In a radio interview on Monday, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said Israel is "not getting involved, but I certainly wish the Iranian people success in the struggle for freedom and democracy."

Israel has long viewed Iran as its greatest security threat because of Tehran's nuclear program, its support for regional militants and Iranian leaders' frequent calls for Israel to be eliminated. Iran has long accused Israel, the United States and Britain of meddling in its internal affairs and working to overthrow its government.

1/1/18 1:43 a.m. -- AFP, quoting local media, reports that new protests were held in Iran overnight:

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a small protest in Tehran's Enghelab Square on Sunday evening, according to unverified social media videos.

Protesters in the small northwestern town of Takestan torched a school for clergy and government buildings, the ILNA news agency said, while the state broadcaster said two people had died in Dorud after crashing a stolen fire engine.

There were also reports of protests in the cities of Izeh (southwest), Kermanshah and Khorramabad (west), Shahinshahr (northwest) and Zanjan (north).

More live blogs:

VOA Persian Service coverage of Iran Protests in Farsi

Follow @VOAIran breaking news coverage in Farsi on Twitter

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