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Iran declares end of deadly unrest, pro-regime rallies continue

Iran declares end of deadly unrest, pro-regime rallies continue

At least 21 people have been killed and 450 people arrested. But what can Washington do to aid the protesters and afflict the Iranian tyrant?

Thierry Coville, an Iran specialist at French think-tank Iris, said Europe's business interests were at play, as well as concerns that Tehran should be handled carefully due to its involvement in Syria, Yemen and beyond. Gross domestic product growth soared to 12.5 percent in the year to March 20, 2017, although this was nearly entirely due to a leap in oil exports.

But on Wednesday, as tens of thousands of regime supporters rallied, analysts said Europe was banking on the anti-government protests coming to little.

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. The CIA joined the British in fomenting a coup against the elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh.

Rice and other former Obama aides have offered no public statement in support of the demonstrators.

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The pro-government crowds included women wearing the all-encompassing black chador, the occasional man in military fatigues and Shiite clerics wearing black turbans identifying them as descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.

Television also broadcast footage of similar pro-government gatherings in the cities of Shiraz, Isfahan, Ardabil, Birjand and Yasuj. State TV said the demonstrations served as an "answer to the protests", which it blamed on "servants of the U.S".

In a sign that Iran is taking the protests more seriously, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused what he called enemies of the Islamic Republic on Tuesday of stirring unrest.

IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO, in a letter to the U.N. secretary-general: "Against the backdrop of continuous attempts by previous US administrations to disrupt the course of normal political, social and cultural life in Iran in the past decades, starting with the coup against Iran's democratically elected prime minister in 1953, the current USA administration has crossed every limit in flouting rules and principles of global law governing the civilized conduct of worldwide relations".

Economic hardship has worsened despite the lifting of sanctions against the Iranian government in 2015 by the Obama administration.

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"Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government".

"Iran's growing nuclear activities and its remaining nuclear infrastructure will have been granted legitimacy by the worldwide community, its defensive and offensive military capabilities will be greater, and the United States will have agreed not only to refrain from imposing additional sanctions on Iran for nuclear advances but will also have suspended its most significant sanctions".

The United States is calling for the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss the Iranian protests. He called for "thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence".

Political protests are rare in Iran, where security services are pervasive.

The EU's condemnation of the violence, and warning against further violent repression of protesters, highlighted the awkward position of the EU, which has been a staunch defender of the Iran nuclear accord, particularly against criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump. Rouhani's office did not mention the comment.

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Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the country's powerful Revolutionary Guards, said the marches marked an end to the anti-government protests, which he referred to as "the sedition".

Telegram is a messaging app that was widely used by Iranians. As the regime continues to intensify its crackdown in the last few days, dozens of peaceful protesters have been shot dead.

Following six days of demonstrations, the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Wednesday that it had deployed forces to quell unrest in three provinces where most of the trouble had occurred. That view seems to lend credence to commentary that Iran's hardliners themselves started the protests initially to weaken reformers by highlighting the failure of the nuclear deal to bring about tangible economic benefits. The protest movement's leaders remain under house arrest years later.

How Serious are the Protests?

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