Posted in: Last updated:
The United States, through its Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, on Monday warned the Iranian authorities against the suppression of demonstrations taking place in the country in protest against Tehran’s handling of the Ukrainian plane crash. The Tehran police chief confirmed not to shoot at the demonstrators on Sunday night, indicating that the security forces had received “restraint” directives.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was charged Iran Monday that it will do “everything it can” to end the demonstrations taking place in the country in protest against the shooting down of the Ukrainian plane last week, reiterating his warnings to Tehran against launching more crackdowns.
We don’t know how the Iranian regime will react as we continue to re-build deterrence. We hope they’ll make the right choice and return to the negotiating table. We hope they share our desire for peace. But no matter what, we will put the security of the American people first. pic.twitter.com/kdZ79xZMgi
– Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 14, 2020
On the other hand, Tehran denied any attempt to “conceal” after it took several days to acknowledge the downing of the plane, amid demonstrations condemning the disaster and calls for a transparent investigation.
“We are now seeing the Iranians taking to the streets in huge numbers, despite the enormous dangers they face,” Pompeo said in a speech at Stanford University in California.
“The United States stands with them in their demand for freedom and justice and in their justified anger against the ayatollah,” Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said the US official.
Pompeo recalled Trump’s warning early this week of the Iranian authorities against any crackdown on demonstrators, calling on his country’s allies to send a similar warning.
In this context, Germany called on Tehran to allow citizens to express their grief and demonstrate “peacefully, freely and without restrictions.” The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Adebar, described the videotapes showing what was said to be a security crackdown against the protesters as “very disturbing.”
Burning pictures of Soleimani!
“I am not naive,” Pompeo said, stressing that the “Basij forces,” the Islamist paramilitary militia loyal to the regime, and “Iranian thugs will do all they can to end these demonstrations.”
“We saw tear gas, and there were reports of violence yesterday,” he said, stressing that the demonstrators were on their side burning posters with pictures of Qasim Soleimani.
For his part, Trump published a tweet on Monday saying, “The wonderful Iranian demonstrators have refused to walk on our great American flag, or at least denigrate it.” “He was put on the street to be trampled on, but they avoided him. Big progress!”
Iranian demonstrators “death for the dictator”
Because of the way their countries deal with the issue of the plane, a pause in honor of the victims organized by Tehran University students turned into a protest demonstration on Saturday evening, dispersed by the police.
Demonstrations took place in the Iranian capital on Sunday night, according to video recordings that spread on social media, and it was not possible to verify their authenticity nor estimate the number of participants.
The demonstrators chanted “Death to the dictator” in addition to slogans against the Revolutionary Guards, according to the news agency “Fars”, in a rare move in a country where the media usually refers to the demonstrators as “rioters” and avoids such slogans.
Meanwhile, the website “Netbooks”, which monitors Internet disturbances, talked about the declining ability to connect to the network on Monday at Sharif University in Tehran ahead of any possible new demonstrations.
Confirmed: Drop in internet connectivity registered at #Sharif University, Tehran from 11:50 UTC where students are protesting for colleagues and alumni killed on flight # PS752; national connectivity remains stable despite sporadic disruptions on third day of #Iran protests📉 pic.twitter.com/LjaNNd4Ut2
– NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) January 13, 2020
On Monday, the Tehran police chief said his officers had received “restraint” directives after the latest rally, which took place on Sunday night in Azadi Square, south of the city center.
Gen. Hussein Rahimi confirmed that “the police did not shoot at the gatherings due to an order for restraint of the police in the capital.”