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LIVE BLOG: Iran Protests, Jan. 6, 2018


People demonstrate in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran near the Iranian embassy in Paris, France, Jan. 6, 2018.

1/6/218 6:04 p.m. -- Several hundred people protested against the Iranian government in Berlin on Saturday, gathering in front of the Brandenburg Gate and calling for regime change.

The rally, organized by the German wing of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, followed more than a week of unrest across Iran that has seen more than 20 people die and more than 1,000 arrested, according to Iranian officials. The anti-government protests have been the largest in the past decade.

People demonstrate in front of the Brandenburg Gate to support protests across Iran, in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 6, 2018.
People demonstrate in front of the Brandenburg Gate to support protests across Iran, in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 6, 2018.

1/6/2018 4:43 p.m. -- Tehran University has set up a committee to track students who had been arrested during the recent anti-government protests, university Vice President Majid Sarsangi told ISNA, according to a Reuters report.

"Our efforts at the university are aimed at cooperating with the relevant authorities to create the conditions for the return of the detained students to the university and their families in the shortest possible time," Sarsangi told ISNA.

A member of parliament told Reuters that about 90 students had been detained during demonstrations -- 10 of the students have not yet been accounted for.

1/6/2018 3:13 p.m. -- This amateur video appears to show anti-government protests continuing on Friday in the capital, Tehran, where security forces were reportedly out in large numbers to prevent the gatherings from turning into a larger rally. The video was published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Saturday.

Anti-government protesters in Tabriz late Friday purportedly chanted the name of Soltan, the 26-year-old philosophy student and protester who was gunned down during the bloody government crackdown on demonstrators during the 2009 mass rallies. They also said they missed Neda, a young female student who was shot dead during those same rallies and became an icon for the Green Revolution.

Another video reportedly shows thousands of fans at a soccer game in Tabriz, the capital of West Azerbaijan Province, a predominately ethnic Azeri region, chanting anti-leadership slogans.

​1/6/2018 2:05 p.m. -- Demonstrators gathered outside the White House on Saturday, in a show of support for anti-government protests taking place in Iran. VOA Farsi Instagram posted these photos. The gathering, at Lafayette Park, across from the White House, was organized by the Organization of the Iranian American Communities. It was held in solidarity with those demonstrating in Iran.

Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018.
Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018.

1/6/2018 1:49 p.m. -- Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami, during his Friday prayers, 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.

Iranian worshippers chant slogans while they burn a representation of U.S. flag during a rally against anti-government protesters after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018.
Iranian worshippers chant slogans while they burn a representation of U.S. flag during a rally against anti-government protesters after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018.

1/6/2018 10:59 a.m. — Thousands of pro-government supporters rally Saturday across Iran for the fourth consecutive day — one day after Iran's foreign minister said a United Nations meeting was a "blunder" by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

State television showed demonstrators in the cities of Amol, Semnam and Shadegan wielding Iranian flags and chanting slogans against the U.S., Israel and Britain. Rallies also were held in the provinces of Khuzestan, Semnan and West Azerbaijan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 20, 2017.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 20, 2017.

1/6/2018 4:08 a.m. — Iran’s foreign minister says a U.S. move to call an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on protests in country marks another foreign policy “blunder” for the Trump administration.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter late Friday that the Security Council “rebuffed the U.S.’ naked attempt to hijack its mandate.”

He says the majority emphasized the need to fully implement the nuclear deal and to refrain from interfering in the affairs of other countries.

U.S. President Donald Trump has voiced encouragement for anti-government demonstrations that have broken out in Iran. The U.S. called the U.N. meeting on Friday, portraying the protests that began last week as a human rights issue that could spill over into an international problem.

On Saturday, Iran’s state TV showed several hundred government supporters rallying a day after Zarif's comment.

The state broadcaster showed the pro-government rally in the city of Amol, in the northern province of Mazandaram, with hundreds of people waving the Iranian flag and chanting slogans against the U.S. and Israel. State TV described the rally as a “response to rioters and supporters of the riots.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a interview with the Associated Press at the State Department in Washington, Jan. 5, 2018.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a interview with the Associated Press at the State Department in Washington, Jan. 5, 2018.

1/6/2018 2:38 a.m. — U.S.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview that he is working with key lawmakers to find a legislative way to enable to keep the United States in the Iran nuclear deal.

He also expressed some disappointment that the European Union has not taken "a more definitive stance in supporting" the protesters in Iran.

Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018. The 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.
Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018. The 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.

1/6/2018 12:26 a.m. — RFE/RL reports that Iranian authorities have blocked social media and messaging apps to foil would-be organizers and quell ongoing antigovernment protests.

But in one minor regard, state officials appear to have decided that if they can't beat 'em, they'll join 'em.

The country's state broadcaster, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), used the banned messaging app Telegram to hail the authorities' ban on that very same app.

Roohollah Zam denies allegations that he incites violence but openly admits that the mission of his Telegram channel, Amadnews, is to take down the government. It has been suspended.
Roohollah Zam denies allegations that he incites violence but openly admits that the mission of his Telegram channel, Amadnews, is to take down the government. It has been suspended.

1/6/2018 12:26 a.m. — (From RFE/RL) Some credit Roohollah Zam with providing a crucial information platform for Iranian protesters as they take on the Iranian regime. Tehran, however, accuses him of inciting violence and spreading fake news.

Whichever way you see it, there is no doubting that Zam, a former journalist turned exile, has become someone for the Iranian authorities to reckon with. Making use of the encrypted safety of the messaging app Telegram and the information agency he runs from abroad, Zam takes on all members of the establishment in Iran in an effort to bring the system down.

SATURDAY EVENTS 1/6/2018

*Some information for this report provided by AP.

More live blogs:

VOA Persian Service coverage of Iran Protests in Farsi

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