Ten people were killed on Sunday during the fourth day of protests against rampant corruption, inflation, and unemployment in the Islamic Republic of Iran, bringing the death toll to twelve.
Two protesters were reportedly shot and killed by security forces the night before.
Hundreds of people have also been arrested.
The series of coordinated protests and demonstrations is the largest Iran has seen since 2009, when the Iranian people’s quest for freedom was cut short after former President Barack Obama refused to provide them with much-needed support.
Many believe the protests are the start of the decline of Iran’s clerical regime.
“In the events of last night, unfortunately, a total of about 10 people were killed in several cities,” Iran’s state television reported Monday, according to Reuters.
State TV also reported that six people were killed in the western town of Tuyserkan, and two others, including a teenage boy, were reportedly run down and killed by a fire engine stolen by protesters in the western town of Dorud on Saturday.
On Sunday, the exiled People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) issued a press release on the deaths, reporting that “at least two protesters were killed in the town of Izeh and several wounded as the Revolutionary Guards opened fire.” The statement added, “The Guards also opened fire in the town Tuyserkan, killing one protester and wounding several others.”
The PMOI obtained video which purports to show the death of one of the protesters:
Sunday Dec 31- A protestor is shot to death in Tuyserkan (West Iran) by the suppressive forces and other protestors are chanting "death to Khamenei", and calling for an ambulance. #IranProtest #Iran #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/EiyUY4dLk9
— Shahin Gobadi (@gobadi) December 31, 2017
The PMOI is the European arm of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which advocates for the overthrow of Iran’s regime. The MEK, founded in 1965, was opposed to Iran’s last Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and participated in the 1979 Revolution that overthrew him. However, the group later broke with Iranian Islamic leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini over ideology and direction and went underground in 1981.
“Death to the Dictator,” Death to Rouhani,” “Don’t be afraid, we are all united,” and “Political prisoners should be freed” were among the chants uttered by the nation’s mostly secular youth, who renewed calls for a change in the radical Islamic dictatorial government for the first time since 2009.
President Donald Trump has indicated his support for a peaceful transition of power:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, the interim leader of Tehran Friday Prayers, condemned Trump’s policies, saying, “In my opinion, Trump is falling.” According to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, he said, “This person lacks psychological balance and especially his recent measure in announcing the holy city of al-Quds [Jerusalem] even got the cry of the UNGA, and most staunch European allies of US protested against the decision.” He reportedly added, “It is worth to tell Trump himself that ‘you are an idiot yourself who does the same stupid things always.”
A crowd that had gathered in front of Gawhar Shad Mosque in Mashad – the same place where Iran’s late shah commissioned the army in 1935 to suppress the uprising caused by the mullahs in reaction to the banishing of the hijab – reportedly chanted, “Reza Shah, may you rest in peace.”
Iran’s exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi told the Associated Press in April, “This regime is simply irreformable because the nature of it, its DNA, is such that it cannot. People have given up with the idea of reform and they think there has to be fundamental change. Now, how this change can occur is the big question.”