Pro-government rallies held in Iran to protest violence


U.S. envoy to the UN Nikki Haley said the protests were "spontaneous", adding that the United States planned to call an emergency UN meeting on the situation.

However, the current wave of protests, which started at the end of December, does not fit this pattern, as demonstrations against economic hardship quickly turned into the biggest anti-government protests Iran has witnessed in almost a decade.Hundreds of people took to the streets in the eastern city of Mashhad on December 28, where protesters voiced their anger at rising food prices.

"Iranians understand the sensitive situation of Iran and the region and will act based on national interests, " Rouhani said, according to the Mehr news agency.

We're rooting for Iran's latest revolutionaries to seize back their country.

Analysts say the ayatollah's reference to "enemies" is a swipe at Israel, the USA and regional rival Saudi Arabia.

Until then, the Trump administration should do its best to publicize and promote the legitimate political and economic grievances of frustrated Iranians and support their efforts to recover freedom from an Islamist dictatorship that depends on thugs to suppress its own people.

She said the USA would call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the anti-government protests.

Ms Haley continued: "The freedoms that are enshrined in the United Nations charter are under attack in Iran".

Hundreds have been arrested, and a prominent judge warned that some could face the death penalty.

"If the Iranian dictatorship's history is any guide, we can expect more outrageous abuses in the days to come".

Trump to Iran: 'The world is watching!'

The protests in the Iranian capital, as well as US President Donald Trump tweeting about them, raised the stakes.

Where is the violence happening?

Activists have shared information about protests on social media. In one case, a video posted online showed a woman standing in front of security forces and shouting "Death to Khamenei", prompting other men and women to chant the same after her.The fifth element was that, unlike the Green Movement protests, during which protesters were mainly from large urban cities like Tehran and were mostly young and middle or upper class, the recent protests were initiated by the working class, which sparked people from all different sectors of Iranian society to join in.

Where will the protests lead?

The rising death toll comes as spontaneous demonstrations have swept across Iran since last Thursday, when economic protests swiftly turned political and took aim at the government.

"This is nothing", Rouhani said in a statement on the presidency website. He has disappointed voters who hoped he would do more to turn round an economy that has been damaged by years of sanctions, corruption and mismanagement.

The protests apparently were triggered by a surge in prices of basic food supplies, which also had contributed to early Arab Spring protests six years ago. Iran has suffered in the past from foreign interference, so his words will strike a chord among some - and could also signal a much tougher response from the security forces.

The demonstrations are the largest seen in Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election. Ever since the Islamic Republic was founded in 1979, the sight of government-supported mass gatherings to commemorate the revolution or protests against Zionism or United States foreign policy has become a regular occurrence. It is not at the moment, so that will make it harder for the protests to be sustained, and they may run out of steam. This will more likely cause more people to become disaffected with the regime.

"We have no information yet whether it was protesters or the police that fired yesterday [Sunday] and the issue is under investigation", the report quoted him as saying.

Iranian authorities are concerned that nationwide unrest will undermine the clerical establishment and want to stamp out the protests quickly, senior government officials say.