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LIVE BLOG: Iran Protests Jan. 5

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VOA Interview with Senator Ben Cardin
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WATCH: Full VOA Interview with Senator Ben Cardin

1/5/2018 9:34 p.m. -- RFE/RL's Armenian service interviewed Iranians in Armenia about the protests going on in their home country.

WATCH: Iranians In Armenia Discuss Unrest Back Home

U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley during an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the Iranian protests, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.
U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley during an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the Iranian protests, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.

1/5/2018 4:23 p.m. -- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said during Friday's emergency Security Council meeting that "the voices of the Iranian people should be heard."

Haley said the emergency meeting on the protests in Iran is putting the Islamic Republic on notice that "the world will be watching what you do."

3:15 p.m. -- United Nations Security Council holds an emergency meeting to discuss ongoing unrest in Iran.

12:45 p.m. -- VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren spoke to Senator Ben Cardin about Iran. Excerpts are available here and the full interview is here.

Cardin: US 'Has Tools' to Take Action Against Human Rights Violations in Iran
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11:00 a.m. VOA Congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson tweeted that the House of Representatives is set to vote on a resolution supporting the Iranian protesters.


10:55 a.m. -- Video posted on VOA Persian's Twitter account says despite heavy security measures, there were scattered demonstrations in several cities on Thursday.

8:05 a.m. --Senator Marco Rubio tweeted both in English and Farsi. His latest tweet expressed support for the Iranian people's right to "peacefully speak out" against the regime and political repression.

8:00 a.m. -- Video of Thursday's protest in Shahin Shahr, Esfahan, Iran submitted to VOA's Persian Service.

7:45 a.m. -- Video of Thursday's protest in Sanandaj, Iran sent to VOA's Persian Service.


7:30 a.m. --The Islamic State group has declared support for the anti-government protests in Iran.

In its latest weekly publication, Al Nabaa, the extremists describe the protests as a "revolution against the regime" and an uprising against Wilayat al-Faqih, or Iran's system of governance by clerics.

Friday's statement also says the messages sent through the protesters to their rulers are "highly important" and that they should continue.

The Islamic State group is a Sunni extremist organization that views those who subscribe to other religions and sects, including Shiite Islam, as apostates.

IS claimed responsibility for a rare attack in Tehran in June that killed 17 people at the parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

7:25 a.m. -- A group of U.N. human rights experts is voicing concern over the deaths of more than 20 people in unrest surrounding protests in Iran and says it is "very disturbed" by the way authorities have responded to the demonstrations.

The four independent experts appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council said in a joint statement issued on Friday in Geneva that authorities should "exercise restraint."

They added that "the government's instruction to the Revolutionary Guard to hit hard against the protesters, and the judiciary's threats of harsh punishment, are unacceptable."

They said they are also very concerned about reported shutdowns of social media services such as Instagram and messaging services like Telegram, arguing that "communication blackouts constitute a serious violation of fundamental rights.''

6 :10 a.m. -- A hard-line Iranian cleric has called on Iran to create its own indigenous social media apps, blaming them for the unrest that followed days of protest in the Islamic Republic over its economy.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami made the comments while leading Friday prayers in Tehran. He said that when the country blocked social media ``the riots stopped.''

Khatami says that "the nation does not support a social network that has its key in the hands of the United States." He also said he believed anyone who burned Iran's flag should be sentenced to death.

Meanwhile, state TV showed footage of pro-government rallies in cities, including Tabriz and Kerman. It marked the third day of such demonstrations.

Iranian worshippers chant slogans during a rally against anti-government protestors after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018.
Iranian worshippers chant slogans during a rally against anti-government protestors after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018.


3:25 a.m. -- More pro-government rallies are planned in Iran after Friday prayers while activists have posted new videos purporting to show protests challenging the Islamic Republic's government.

Activists describe the protest videos, obtained by The Associated Press outside of Iran, as showing demonstrations in Tehran on Thursday night, including chants against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Tehran on Friday morning, streets appeared calm ahead of noon prayers.

An emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, called for by the United States, is to discuss the ongoing unrest later Friday.

At least 21 people have been killed in the unrest surrounding the protests, which began last week over rising food prices and Iran's flagging economy before spreading to cities across nearly all of Iran's provinces. Authorities have said the protests are waning.

FRIDAY EVENTS 1/5/18

*Some information for this report provided by AP.

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VOA Persian Service coverage of Iran Protests in Farsi

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