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Dispatch: Iranian protesters defy authorities to voice differing demands for change

01 January 2018

Thousands have been protesting across Iran against poverty and unemployment. Two protesters were killed in Dorud in the province of Lorestan late Saturday during clashes with security forces, Habibollah Khojastehpour, deputy for political affairs for the province of Lorestan, said in an interview posted on the website of Iran's state broadcaster.

Rouhani's main achievement, a 2015 deal with world powers that curbed Iran's nuclear program in return for a lifting of most worldwide sanctions, is yet to bring the economic benefits the government promised.

On Saturday, Telegram had suspended the account of one Iranian channel, Amad News, saying it had violated the service's terms of use by calling for violence.

The protests, which began in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Thursday, present a serious challenge to President Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"Canada will continue to support the fundamental rights of Iranians, including the right to freedom of expression", the statement added.

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It also apparently forced state television to break its silence about the unrest, acknowledging Saturday that it hadn't reported on the protests on orders from security officials.

There were outbreaks of clashes in several cities on Saturday and two protesters died of gunshot wounds in the western city of Dorud.

The protests have expanded to cities across the Islamic Republic in the days since.

The protests have been the biggest show of dissent since huge rallies in 2009.

The largest protests to strike Iran in almost a decade continued unabated Sunday, despite a government move to block access to Instagram and a popular messaging app used by activists to organize, with even President Hassan Rouhani acknowledging the public's anger over the Islamic Republic's flagging economy.

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The Iranian government is denying responsibility for the deaths and unrest.

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Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said, "The Iranian government is being tested by its own citizens".

Authorities said Iranian security forces were not responsible for the deaths and instead blamed Sunni Muslim extremists and foreign actors. "The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism".

Mass demonstrations - referred to as the Green Movement - were held by millions of opposition supporters against the disputed election victory of incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Looks like they will not take it any longer.

Rouhani pushed back on Trump's remarks, saying that he had no right to sympathize with protesters because he "called the Iranian nation terrorists a few months ago".

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"This man, who is an enemy of the Iranian nation from the top of his head to his very toes, has no right to sympathise with Iranians", he added.

Dispatch: Iranian protesters defy authorities to voice differing demands for change