Tehran Rising: Protesters Defy Regime as EU Urges Iran to Keep Nuclear Deal

Written by | Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

As protests took place across Iran on Sunday (12 January) for the second day in a row, with protesters defying security forces deployed in large numbers on the streets of Tehran, European powers urged the country to respect the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA). Chanting “our enemy is right here,” demonstrators took to the streets of Tehran angry at the revelations that the fatal crash of a Ukrainian passenger jet was caused by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. About 3,000 protesters gathered at Azadi Square and hundreds more convened on university campuses, calling for the resignation of many members of Iran’s ruling elite. Criticism of the supreme leader is punishable by up to two years in prison.
Much of the nationalist sentiment that the government had hoped to capitalize on in the wake of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani by US forces now appears to have evaporated. The protesters were particularly enraged by the fact that the Revolutionary Guards – and, in turn, the Iranian regime – failed to admit their direct role in shooting down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, killing 176 people on board, until Canada, the US and the UK announced they had evidence the jet was downed by a missile. As unverified video showed a woman apparently with gunshot wounds after being shot and injured by security forces, US President Donald Trump sent a warning to Iran, tweeting: “DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS.”
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, France and Germany issued a joint statement urging Iran to “refrain from any new violent or proliferation action” with the JCPOA, which Tehran has started to unravel after the US withdrew from it last year, and assuring Tehran that all three parties to the deal “remain ready to engage in dialogue.” Back in Tehran, the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, was briefly detained “without grounds and explanation” by police on Saturday night (11 January) in what was “flagrant violation of international law,” UK government said. “Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations!” British ambassador tweeted. “Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of #PS752 tragedy. Normal to want to pay respects – some of victims were British.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Macaire over his ”illegal and inappropriate presence” at a protest.

Article Categories:
Asia-Pacific · GLOBAL EUROPE

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