Iran Daily: At Least 15 Dead as Rouhani Says Regime Will Deal With “Rioters”

By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – January 2, 2018 –  At least 15 people have reportedly been killed as Iran enters a sixth day of protests across the country on Tuesday.State media put out the death toll and said hundreds have been wounded. Regime outlets claimed a policeman was among the dead.President Rouhani followed up his national address on Sunday with a declaration to legislators yesterday that the Islamic Republic will deal with a “small and minority group” of “rioters and lawbreakers” exploiting the protests over economic conditions and political and social issues.

“The enemy will not remain silent vis-à-vis the nation’s progress and greatness, but there are also deceived people among the protesters who have rightful demands,” he asserted.

In his Sunday speech, Rouhani had balanced his warnings against violence with an anknowledgement of the right to protest, On Monday he moved farther towards an emphasis on blame of “foreign powers”. He claimed “the enemies of Iran” could not tolerate Tehran’s diplomatic achievements, especially in a “confrontation” with the US and Israel, and said some had threatened to take regional problems into Tehran.Rouhani did say that not all of those demonstrating were taking orders from foreigners, but were motivated by their “sentiments and problems”. He maintained that the Government could use the protests to build support for its economic policies: “I believe that what happened in recent days was apparently a type of threat, which should be turned into an opportunity.”He assured, “Our great nation has witnessed a number of similar incidents in the past and has comfortably dealt with them. This is nothing.”

Revolutionary Guards Insist Tehran is “Peaceful”

The Revolutionary Guards commander in Tehran insisted that Tehran “is peaceful”.

Brigadier General Mohammad Kowsari said, “We will not allow insecurity to continue in Tehran”; however, he proclaimed that the Guards have had no role in containing protests and that police are in charge and dealing with the situation.Protests and clashes were reported in parts of the capital. Video showed security forces using water cannon to disperse people.

In Enghelab Square in Tehran — “Death to the dictator”: There were larger gatherings in the area around Isfahan. Conservative media said a police officer was killed and three wounded by a man with a hunting rifle in Najafabad. Five protesters were said to have been killed in Ghahderijan, with a crowd then attacking a government building.

Tear gas used against protesters in Shadegan in Khuzestan Province in western Iran: In Zanjan in northwest Iran: Detentions of activists are being reported, not only by colleagues by also by semi-offical media, who said some were behind a channel on the messaging application Telegram — now blocked by the regime, along with Instagram — to organize protests.

The Interior Ministry, saying that 90% of those in the protests are under 25, declared, “The unrest will be controlled more seriously from tonight.”

Many Iranians reported on Monday that they have received a text message from an unknown number threatening them with charges of “anti-revolutionary“ crimes if they participate in protests.