Iran is an ally of Russia and is friendly with China. The royal rumblings (purges) south of the Persian Gulf in Saudi Arabia probably have something to do with what is going in the streets of Iran. Also a factor, the Trump administration’s general and more open hostility toward leadership in Tehran. Add in the overtly pro-Israeli position of the White House these days, and that Turkey, a member of NATO is openly complaining about US Israeli policy. Plus the war in Yemen, a war that is basically a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran continues to rage. Can’t forget that. Oh, and toss in Trump’s recent “rebuke” of Saudi Arabian actions in Yemen. That threw the diplomatic community for a bit of a loop and creates an unusual nuance to what is going on.
It’s fair to say that this always politically warm region of the world is a bit hotter than usual going into 2018.
Iran warned of a tough crackdown on Sunday against demonstrators who pose one of the most audacious challenges to its clerical leadership since nationwide pro-reform unrest jolted the Islamist theocracy in 2009…
…There were no sign of protests on Sunday and the government said it would temporarily restrict access to the Telegram and Instagram messaging apps, state television quoted an informed source as saying.
President Hassan Rouhani will address the nation on television on Sunday night, the semi-official news agency ISNA said. It did not give details and there was no immediate official confirmation of the report.
An Iranian reached by telephone, who asked not to be named, said there was a heavy presence of police and security forces in central Tehran.
“I saw a few young men being arrested and put into police van. They don’t let anyone assemble,” he said.
Video from earlier days posted on social media showed people chanting: “Mullahs, have some shame, leave the country alone.”
The demonstrators also shouted: “Reza Shah, bless your soul”. Such calls are evidence of a deep level of anger and break a taboo. The king ruled Iran from 1925 to 1941 and his Pahlavi dynasty was overthrown in a revolution in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s first leader.
The protests are the biggest since unrest in 2009 that followed the disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.