They have also spoken out against economic woes and inflation. One man said that the protesters come from a broad spectrum of society. They speak about students graduating without a stable future. Protesters have also said that many who took to the streets are lower class, which would be in contrast to some of the 2009 protests. The protesters have also targeted government involvement in Syria, calling on the government to “leave Syria, think about us,” and also condemned the government’s obsession with supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran,” they said. Videos show protesters ripping down posters of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani who is in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s operations abroad. They have also removed posters of the Ayatollah. At Tehran university they condemned the “oppressive” government on December 30th and protesters chanted, “Independence, freedom, Iranian Republic,” a slight twist on the 1979 motto that called for an “Islamic Republic.”
#Update58- #Saveh joined. People are gathering and chanting “ Death to the Dictator”. “Khamenei step down and leave the country”Security forces tried to arrest a few protesters but didn’t manage.#IranProtests pic.twitter.com/5AyW7JSYju— news_kurdii (@1newss_kurdishh) December 30, 2017
The IRGC has said they will “not allow the country to be hurt.” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Ayatollah Khamenei have been silent so far. Former Swedish Prime Minister and Co-Chair of European Council on Foreign Relations Carl Bildt wrote on December 29: “There is no doubt that protests are spreading in Iran. Might have been started by hardliners to undermine [President Hassan Rouhani] but have now clearly changed character. So far soft regime response, but highly likely forces inside it calling for brutal methods.” Other European voices such as French President Emmanuel Macron have been silent so far. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted on December 31: "Watching events in Iran with concern. Vital that citizens should have the right to demonstrate peacefully."The support for Iranian protests crosses party lines. “The Iranian people, especially the young, are protesting for the freedom and future they deserve,” tweeted Hillary Clinton. US Senator John McCain shared the following thoughts on Twitter "The US stands with the brave protesters who yearn for freedom, peace, and an end to corruption in Iran."
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
How has Iran’s regime responded?On Saturday tens of thousands of pro-regime supporters were called out on the streets to counter-protest. At the same time, security forces in Tehran beat students who attended a rally at Tehran university. According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran the government has made it difficult for locals to access internet servers outside Iran. Locals predict that this means in the coming days there will be fewer videos from protests because Iranians will not be able to send them abroad. In the city of Dorud in the province of Lorestan several protesters were reported killed. Riot police have been sent against protesters in Rasht. In Mashhad the police responded with live fire on December 28th. As of December 30th the crackdown was not widespread and the reports of the Basij militia being sent in to attack protesters, as in 2009, have not been heard. Train service was cancelled Sunday and schools suspended for the day while the regime continued its crackdown on social media and the Internet to stem the protests. The regime has accused “foreign” elements of being behind the disturbances and claimed that protester deaths were also caused by enemies of the state. In Tehran at least 200 people were reported arrested on Sunday.
For too long, the Iranian people have been oppressed by their government, which cares more about sowing instability abroad than its own citizens. The U.S. stands with the brave protesters who yearn for freedom, peace, and an end to corruption in Iran. https://t.co/taDmyE1w7k— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) December 30, 2017