Iran stages pro-government rallies after days of violent unrest

Thousands of supporters of Iran’s clerical establishment rallied in Tehran on Monday, accusing the United States and Israel of instigating the most violent anti-government protests in at least a decade in Iran.
Amnesty International said on Monday it had recorded at least 143 protesters killed in anti-government demonstrations, which began on Nov. 15 after the announcement of gasoline price hikes.
The unrest has come as new U.S. sanctions imposed this year have cut off nearly all of Iran’s oil exports, and as similar protest movements have erupted in Iraq and Lebanon against governments that include heavily armed pro-Iranian factions.
“We are surprised that the foreign minister of a certain country has stooped so low as to ask for videos of bank burnings … be sent to them,” Mousavi said, referring to a request by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Iranian protesters to send Washington any photos or videos of crackdowns on demonstrators.
“The United States will publicize and condemn the persecution of protesters,” Pompeo said at the time.
Mousavi was not the only one to speak out against perceived verbal attacks from the US. The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, General Hossein Salami, claimed the US and its allies were stoking the fires of discontent. As he addressed the pro-government demonstrators on Monday, he echoed Mousavi’s sentiments when he said the rise in fuel prices was a “mere pretext” for an attack on Iran.
“If you cross our red line, we will destroy you,” he said. “We will not leave any move unanswered.”
Rights group Amnesty International announced last week that Iranian security forces had shot into protest crowds from rooftops and from a helicopter.
Following reports of the high number of deaths during the protests, the French government also called on Iran to comply with international human rights.–DT

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