Iran’s president attempts to assuage anger as protests keep on

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday appealed for national unity and tried out to allay anger towards the country’s rulers, even as the anti-governing administration protests that have engulfed the state for months continued to spread to universities and significant colleges.

Raisi acknowledged that the Islamic Republic had “weaknesses and shortcomings,” but repeated the official line that the unrest sparked final month by the death of a girl in the custody of the country’s morality law enforcement was nothing shorter of a plot by Iran’s enemies.

“Today the country’s determination is aimed at cooperation to lessen people’s challenges,” he told a parliament session. “Unity and countrywide integrity are necessities that render our enemy hopeless.”

His claims echoed these of Iran’s supreme chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who blamed the United States and Israel, the country’s adversaries, for inciting the unrest in his very first remarks on the nationwide protests on Monday. It is a familiar tactic for Iran’s leaders, who have been mistrustful of Western impact given that the 1979 Islamic Revolution and frequently blame domestic complications on international enemies without having supplying proof.

The protests, which emerged in reaction to the loss of life of 22-yr-previous Mahsa Amini soon after her arrest for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s rigorous costume code, have embroiled dozens of cities throughout the region and progressed into the most common challenge to Iran’s leadership in a long time. A sequence of festering crises have served gas general public rage, which includes the country’s political repression, ailing economy and world wide isolation.

The scope of the ongoing unrest, the most sustained in about a ten years, nevertheless continues to be unclear as witnesses report spontaneous gatherings throughout the region that includes modest acts of defiance — such as protesters shouting slogans from rooftops, slicing their hair and burning their point out-mandated headscarves.

The hardline Kayhan day by day on Tuesday tried to downplay the scale of the movement, indicating that “anti-revolutionaries,” or individuals opposed to the Islamic Republic, “are in the absolute minority, perhaps 1%.”

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But a further hardline newspaper, the Jomhuri Eslami every day, solid doubt on govt claims that overseas international locations were to blame for the country’s turmoil.

“Neither international enemies nor domestic opposition can acquire metropolitan areas into a state of riot without having a track record of discontent,” its editorial go through. “The denial of this simple fact will not assist.”

Iran’s protection forces have sought to disperse demonstrations with tear fuel, steel pellets, and in some scenarios dwell hearth, rights teams say. Iran’s point out Television set stories that violent confrontations involving protesters and the police have killed at minimum 41 people today, but human legal rights groups say the amount is considerably increased.

An escalating crackdown on the press, with dozens of journalists arrested in the past handful of weeks, has stifled most independent reporting on sensitive troubles this sort of as the deaths of protesters.

The latest disappearance and death of a 17-calendar year-outdated girl in Tehran, nevertheless, has unleashed an outpouring of anger on Iranian social media.

Nika Shahkarami, who lived in the money with her mother, vanished one night very last thirty day period all through the protests in Tehran, her uncle Kianoush Shakarami informed the semiofficial Tasnim information agency. She was lacking for a 7 days before her lifeless human body was located in a Tehran road and was returned to her spouse and children, Tasnim documented, introducing family members experienced not acquired formal term on how she died.

Foreign-based Iranian activists allege she died in police custody, with hundreds circulating her photograph and applying her identify as hashtag on the internet for the protest movement. The prosecutor in the western Lorestan province, Dariush Shahoonvand, denied any wrongdoing by authorities and mentioned was buried in her village Monday.

“Foreign enemies have attempted to generate a tense and nervous atmosphere after this incident,” he informed the Hamshari each day, without having elaborating on what happened.

As the new tutorial 12 months started this week, demonstrations spread speedily to college campuses, extended considered sanctuaries in periods of turmoil. Video clips on social media confirmed students expressing solidarity with peers who had been arrested and calling for the finish of the Islamic Republic. Roiled by the unrest, quite a few universities moved classes on the net this week.

The prestigious Sharif University of Technological know-how in Tehran turned a battlefield on Sunday as stability forces surrounded the campus from all sides and fired tear gas at protesters who were being holed up within a parking whole lot, stopping them from leaving. The student union reported that police arrested hundreds of students, although numerous have been afterwards unveiled.

In 1 video clip on Monday, learners at Tarbiat Modares College in Tehran marched and chanted, “Jailed college students need to be freed!” In another, learners streamed by means of Khayyam College in the conservative town of Mashhad, shouting, “Sharif College has come to be a jail! Evin Prison has come to be a university!” — referring to Iran’s infamous jail in Tehran.

Protests also appeared to grip gender-segregated large colleges throughout Iran, where teams of young schoolgirls waved their hijabs and chanted “Woman! Life! Flexibility!” in the metropolis of Karaj west of the money and in the Kurdish town of Sanandaj on Monday, in accordance to extensively shared footage.

The reaction by Iran’s protection forces has sparked popular condemnation. On Monday, President Joe Biden explained his administration was “gravely anxious about studies of the intensifying violent crackdown on tranquil protesters in Iran, which include college students and girls.”

The British foreign place of work summoned the Iranian ambassador in London.

“The violence leveled at protests in Iran by the protection forces is truly shocking,” reported British International Secretary James Cleverly.

Protection forces have rounded up an untold amount of demonstrators, as properly as artists who have voiced help for the protests. Nearby officials report at minimum 1,500 arrests.

Shervin Hajipour, an Iranian singer who emerged as a thing of a protest icon for his wildly popular music motivated by Amini’s death, was detained past week. His attorney reported he was released on bail Tuesday and rejoined his family members in Iran’s northern metropolis of Babolsar.

In his somber ballad, “For the sake of,” he sings of why Iranians are soaring up in protest.

“For dancing in the streets,” he intones. “For my sister, for your sister, for our sisters.”

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