Protests in Iran sees death toll continue to grow

Protests in Iran sees death toll continue to grow

New sanctions are possible, USA deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran and Iraq, Andrew Peek, told VOA News.

Not least among the Obama-era policies that Trump has targeted is a 2015 deal that gave Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. "The watching!"

Responding to President Donald Trump's daily tweets praising the protesters, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iranians enjoyed the right to peaceful protest that was denied to citizens of US allies in the Middle East.

In several following tweets, the American president Donald Trump had been supporting the Iranian uprising.

As violence has grown, authorities have stepped up arrests, with at least 450 people detained in Tehran since Saturday and 100 more around Isfahan on Monday, media reported.

The head of Tehran's revolutionary court, Moussa Ghazanfarabadi, warned that as violence grows punishments for demonstrators would get "heavier". "It's important that we stand in solidarity with them and try to provide them whatever support we can".

On the other hand, some on the liberal side argue that the president needs to tone it down.

Philip Gordon, an assistant secretary of state and a White House coordinator for the Middle East during the Obama administration, wrote over the weekend that Trump should "keep quiet and do nothing".

The protests that started over the economy before turning against the Islamic regime as a whole are the biggest in the tightly controlled country since unrest over a disputed election in 2009. "Hundreds have been arrested", she said.

Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani phoned his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron Tuesday to demand action against the Paris-based "terrorist" Mujahedeen-e-Khalq opposition group he accused of fomenting protests.

Sanctions are just part of the USA "tool kit", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday.

Trump's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, confirmed Tuesday that the administration is considering new sanctions against Iran if the regime interferes with the civilian protests.

The possible new sanctions, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, would target human rights violations, possibly aimed at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

But that might be hard. But access to a more widely used messaging app, Telegram, remained blocked, suggesting authorities remained uneasy about protest threats.

Several experts on the region also told NBC News that a critical piece of US support for the protesters is ensuring there's sufficient broadcast programming accessible to them to counter the regime's claims.

The protests began last week over economic concerns, reports say, but have shifted toward anti-government demonstrations focused on Iran's clerical rulers.

4. Take it to the United Nations .

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said earlier this week the US was seeking emergency sessions on Iran at the United Nations in NY and at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"The U.N. must speak out", Haley said during a short press availability in NY on Tuesday.

"We no longer consider them as protesters demanding rights, but as people targeting the regime", he told the conservative Tasnim news agency. "The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime", Trump tweeted. They said the US government is still looking at its options at helping open up the internet, though no decision has been taken yet. The local governor said the protesters were armed.

A USA official told Reuters earlier on Tuesday that US intelligence officials think the protests have little chance of toppling the government.

Abrams also spoke in favor of a global response to the protests.

Meanwhile, a top Russian diplomat warned the United States not to meddle in Iran's affairs and suggested that Washington wants to use the unrest to undermine the Iran nuclear agreement.



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