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.
FM @sigmargabriel on Iran: We call on the government to respect demonstrators’ freedom of assembly + their right to give voice to their opinion freely+peacefully. Following confrontation of past days, all the more important for all sides to refrain from taking any violent action.
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) January 1, 2018
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.
Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
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.