UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today cautioned regime officials in Iran to make sure “their actions do not provoke a downward spiral of violence, as occurred in 2009” during the Green Revolution protests in which hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested.
Al Hussein said in a statement he was “deeply disturbed” by reports indicating more than 20 people, including an 11-year-old boy, have died in the latest protests that began last week. Hundreds have been arrested.
“The Iranian authorities must respect the rights of all demonstrators and detainees, including their right to life, and guarantee their safety and security,” the commissioner said. “There must be thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence that have taken place – and a concerted effort by the authorities to ensure that all security forces respond in a manner that is proportionate and strictly necessary, and fully in line with international law.”
The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, declared today that “that the intrigue of 96 is over and defeated” (referring to current Persian year 1396) and claimed “the number of troublemakers did not exceed 15,000 people nationwide.”
Jafari claimed the protesters were created and stoked by Hillary Clinton “to create riot, anarchy, insecurity and intrigue in Iran” as “a huge number of anti-revolutionary agents, pro-monarchists, and MKO members were tasked with creating and developing riot and anarchy in Iran.”
“The enemies perfectly know that by no means can they threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran in terms of defense,” said the IRGC commander. “So they have mustered all their capital, after the sacred defense, to pose cultural, economic, and security threats against the Islamic Iran, and with God’s help they are assuredly to be defeated in these fields, too.”
President Trump tweeted on New Year’s Day, “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!”
Today, Trump added, “Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked Tuesday if the administration supports regime change in Iran. “We support them giving basic rights to the people of Iran and we support them stopping being a state sponsor of terror and we want to see those actions take place,” she replied.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani claimed the protests were stoked by outside influencers upset with the P5+1 nuclear deal and the Islamic Republic’s subsequent expanded global ties. “These have angered our enemy. Our unity was a bullet in their eyes and our progress and success in the world of politics and against the U.S. and the Zionist regime was not bearable to them. Our success in the region was not bearable to them,” he said, as reported by the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Al Hussein said today that Iran must release all detained demonstrators. “Peaceful protests must not be criminalized,” he said. “They are a legitimate part of the democratic process.”
Nearly 500 protesters have been arrested in Tehran alone. Iran’s deputy interior minister said about 90 percent of detainees are under the age of 25.