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Iran Judge Says Protesters Could Be Executed

Trump seeks international support for protests
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2018 4:55 AM CST
Updated Jan 2, 2018 6:41 AM CST

(Newser) – The death toll in the protests sweeping Iran is now at least 20—and it could end up a lot higher under a recommendation from the head of Tehran's Revolutionary Court. According to Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency, Mousa Ghazanfarabadi said Tuesday that some of the hundreds of protesters arrested around the country could face the death penalty for "waging war against God," the AP reports. At least 450 people are believed to have been arrested in Tehran alone since Saturday. President Hassan Rouhani says he can understand public anger at the economy, but lawbreaking will not be tolerated. In other developments:

  • Support from Trump. President Trump has tweeted in support of the protesters, and administration officials say they're urging other nations to support Iranians' right to protest. "We are encouraging all nations around the world to publicly condemn the government violence and to support the legitimate, basic rights of those protesting," Brian Hook, the State Department's director of policy planning, tells the Wall Street Journal.

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  • Latest clashes. At least nine people were killed in overnight clashes, Iranian state media reported Tuesday, per the Washington Post. State TV said the latest deaths include six people killed in an attack on a police station in the town of Qahdarijan. State TV also reported that a Revolutionary Guard member was shot dead in the town of Najafabad.
  • Solidarity from Syria. The AP reports that Syria, one of Iran's closest allies, has expressed its support for the Iranian government. A statement from Syria's Foreign Ministry Tuesday accused the US and Israel of destabilizing the region by supporting protesters.
  • Differences from 2009. The New York Times looks at the differences between this outbreak of unrest and the "Green Movement" in 2009. This time, Tehran isn't the center of the protests, which are being led by people in rural provinces once thought to have been the most loyal to the government.
  • Changing targets. The target of the protests has shifted since they began in the town of Mashhad last week, notes Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East editor. Protesters initially called for action on inflation and unemployment, but they're now calling for the removal of senior government figures, with some even demanding the return of the pre-Islamic Revolution monarchy.
(Iran has blocked social media as part of its crackdown on the protests.)

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