State Dept. official: We are not pursuing regime change in Iran

Iran Protests Teheran

The demonstrations, which began last week, are the most serious since unrest in 2009 that followed the disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Protests over economic problems broke out in second city Mashhad on Dec 28 and quickly spread across the country, turning against the regime as a whole.

People take part in pro-government rallies in Iran on January 3. As of Jan.1, six people were dead in the small city of Tuyserkan, two in the city of Dorud, two in the southwestern city of Izeh, and two in Lorestan province.

Trump wasted no time in blasting the Iranian government on Twitter.

The government's main challenge is to find a way to suppress the protests without provoking more anger as demonstrators attack police stations, banks and mosques.

Shortly before Trump's comments, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei made his first remarks about the uprising, blaming "enemies" of the country - presumably the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel - for the recent unrest.

Other footage showed activists shouting slogans like "We don't want Islamic Republic!"

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But unlike that earlier, largely middle-class movement centered in Tehran, the recent demonstrations are drawing heavily upon lower-income youths in religious cities and rural towns. Police disperse protesters with water cannons and make some arrests.

And when that happened, state media was also forced to acknowledge that it had not initially reported on the protests on the orders of security officials.

"The counter-revolutionaries intervened massively on social media", Jafari said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his "regret" at the bloodshed in Iran, saying the U.N. expects "the rights to peaceful assembly and expression of the Iranian people will be respected".

That number grew to 12 deaths by Monday and at least 20 by Tuesday. Hundreds have been arrested; the death toll is climbing. "They don't let anyone assemble".

It remains hard for journalists to piece together what's happening beyond the capital, especially as the government has blocked both the photo-sharing app Instagram and the messaging app Telegram, which protesters have used to organize their demonstrations and share footage. News and video records of major protests in Iran pushed Brent prices to $67 a barrel before analysts started pointing out that the risk to oil supply from the protesters themselves was low. "The Iranian government is being tested by its own citizens", she says in a statement.

Secular but overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim Turkey shares a border with mainly Shiite Muslim Iran. The U.S. government believes that hard-liners initiated the demonstrations as a means to pressure President Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate cleric within Iran's political system.

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Even if Democrats manage to win both houses of Congress in 2018 and Trump is impeached, nothing will change until the electorate installs a democratic president and Congress.

"The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime", he posted Tuesday. "The world is watching!"

"The enemies know that they can not threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran in the defense domain, whatsoever", said the top commander, adding that the enemies' security threats against the country are not effective.

"We no longer consider them as protesters demanding rights, but as people targeting the regime", he told the conservative Tasnim news agency.

Iran's leaders believe they can count on support from numerous generation that took part as youths in the 1979 revolution due to their ideological commitment and the economic gains they have made under the Islamic government, analysts say.

In his latest tweet on Monday, the USA president said, "The [Iranian] people have little food, big inflation and no human rights".

Meanwhile, the American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the United States called for the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council to meet to discuss the situation in Iran. "We pray that freedom and human rights will carry the day".

White House To Announce 'Specific Actions' Against Pakistan Within Days
Earlier Thursday, Mattis said the policy on military aid to Pakistan was "still being formulated". The Express Tribune noted that Islamabad refuses to "do more " to combat terrorism in South Asia.

Peek's comments come as the president and high-level officials in the Trump administration voice support for protesters in Iran.

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