Iranian police officer killed in protests

World Today

IRAN-POLITICS-UNRESTAn image grab taken from a handout video released by Iran’s Mehr News agency reportedly shows a group of men pushing traffic barriers in a street in Tehran on December 30, 2017. Ten people died overnight in fresh unrest in Iran, local media reported on January 1, 2018, despite President Hassan Rouhani calling for calm and vowing more “space for criticism” in a bid to head off days of protest. / AFP PHOTO / MEHR NEWS /

According to Iranian state media, an Iranian police officer has been killed, and three other officers wounded in the protests sweeping the nation.

It’s the first reported fatality among security forces trying to reign in those demonstrations. CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

According to Iranian police, a protester opened fire using a hunting rifle on police at a demonstration in the central city of Najafabad. Three more officers were also wounded.

The demonstrations began Thursday in Northeast Iran. Protesters have specifically chanted against the government and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They want their country to pull out of costly proxy wars with Saudi Arabia, and focus on rebuilding the economy. Fuel and food prices are rising…as is unemployment.

Even as he allowed a temporary block on social media, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on the protesters — and police — to remain peaceful.

“So the people have a right to criticize, all over the country,” said Rouhani. “But, criticism is entirely different from violence and damaging public properties.

Monday, he called the protests – an opportunity.

“In my opinion, what happened within the past few days, on the surface it looked like a threat, but we need to turn it into an opportunity,” he said.

Meantime, global reaction is building. Berlin is calling on Tehran to respect the rights of protesters and on all sides to refrain from violence.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is accusing foreigners of stoking the protests, saying quote:

“External interference which may destabilize the situation is unacceptable,” according to Russian outlets, Sputnik and RT Television.

After repeatedly weighing in on the situation in Iran through Twitter, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Monday too.

Sunday, Rouhani accused Trump of “always acting against the Iranian people” – blocking their visas to the U.S. and failing to certify the Iran nuclear deal. Under U.S. law, Trump has until January 13th to recertify the deal again.