Hamed Malekpour, Tasnim News, AFP | Iranians hold portraits of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during an earlier pro-government rally in the capital, Tehran, on December 30, 2017. Hamed Malekpour, Tasnim News, AFP | Iranians hold portraits of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during an earlier pro-government rally in the capital, Tehran, on December 30, 2017.

Pro-government crowds rally in Iran after days of unrest

By: AFP
Wed, Jan. 3, 2018
3 January 2018: Tens of thousands gathered in cities across Iran on Wednesday in a massive show of support for the government after days of deadly unrest, state television showed.
Crowds chanted "Leader, we are ready" as images showed vast numbers marching through the cities of Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Gorgan and elsewhere.

The crowds waved Iranian flags and pictures of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as placards reading "Death to seditionists".

"We offer the blood in our veins to our leader," was another popular chant.

The rallies followed several days of unrest -- initially sparked by protests over economic problems but quickly turning against the regime as a whole -- in which 21 people lost their lives and hundreds were arrested.

The unrest has remained focused on provincial towns and cities, with only sporadic protests reported in the capital, Tehran.

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The demonstrations are the largest seen in Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election.

Breaking his silence on the unrest, Khamenei blamed foreign "enemies" for the demonstrations in a speech on Tuesday.

Shortly after, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, urged the international community to speak out on the unfolding protests in Iran, saying the US would seek emergency UN talks on the situation.
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