Iran protests ‘won’t end until regime falls’

In this video grab made from a video by Nasim News Agency, a cleric speaks to a crowd of protesters demonstrating in Mashhad, in the Khorasan Razavi province, on August 3, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 07 August 2018
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Iran protests ‘won’t end until regime falls’

  • About 500 protesters attacked a seminary in the northern province of Alborz
  • Protests have rocked major cities across Iran amid mounting anger over the country’s economy and political system

LONDON: A religious school was attacked in Iran late Friday as public protests spread, in an uprising one policy expert said would continue “until the regime falls.”
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said Saturday that about 500 protesters attacked a seminary in the northern province of Alborz, hurling stones and leading to several arrests.
Protests have rocked major cities across Iran — including Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad — amid mounting anger over the country’s economy and political system.
Alireza Nader, an independent Iran scholar based in Washington, said the Iranian government was unlikely to listen to calls made by the protesters.
“Iran is experiencing a nationwide uprising which won’t end until the regime falls or makes fundamental reforms. History shows it won’t pursue the latter,” Nader told Arab News.
“Iranians simply have had enough of the misery inflicted on them over the past 40 years. The regime could resort to major violence, but that’s likely to create an even bigger rebellion.”
Videos shared on social media in recent days have shown crowds of protesters in several cities, chanting slogans such as “death to the dictator” and those demanding an end to Iran’s regional interventions in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
In the city of Mashhad, a cleric was seen in a video telling a sizeable crowd that “most of your representatives don’t care about people’s problems,” according to Qom News.
Nader said that the protests amount to the “most widespread anti-regime resistance movement” since the 1979 revolution in which Iran’s shah was overthrown.
The current protests follow unrest in December and January, when at least 25 people were killed in demonstrations that spread to dozens of towns and cities.
They come ahead of a new wave of US sanctions on Iran, the first phase of which will be introduced Tuesday, and involve blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials among other measures.


UN envoy: No access for UN peacekeepers to Lebanon tunnels

Updated 23 January 2019
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UN envoy: No access for UN peacekeepers to Lebanon tunnels

  • Cohen accused Hezbollah, an Iranian ally, of threatening international peace and security
  • Danon alleged that Iran funnels $7 billion to militant groups across the region

UNITED NATIONS: The UN's envoy to the Mideast said Tuesday that peacekeepers in Lebanon have not been given access to tunnels stretching into Israel, which UN officials say violate a case-fire resolution that ended a devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.
Nikolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the UN peacekeeping mission known as UNIFIL has confirmed that two tunnels crossed the UN-drawn Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel, but “has not been granted access to the confirmed entry points of a tunnel near Kfar Kila on the Lebanese side.”
He did not say whether Lebanon’s government or the Hezbollah militant group was blocking access for UNIFIL, but US deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen blamed the government.
Cohen accused Hezbollah, an Iranian ally, of threatening international peace and security with the extensive tunneling exposed by Israel, which has reported uncovering six tunnels into its territory.
“We commend UNIFIL’s work to keep the Blue Line under control, but it is unacceptable that the Lebanese government has not yet given UNIFIL access to the tunnel entrance on their side of the Blue Line,” Cohen told the council.
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon complained to the council that “the Lebanese army has taken no action in response, allowing Hezbollah to continue building these tunnels undisturbed.”
Danon alleged that Iran funnels $7 billion to militant groups across the region, including $1 billion to Hezbollah, which he said has “grand plans to take over the Israeli Galilee” and invests millions in every tunnel. He provided no information on how Israel calculated its estimate of Iranian spending, which also included $4 billion to the Syrian government, “hundreds of millions” to Iran’s proxies in Iraq, tens of millions to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen, $70 million to Palestinian Islamic Jihad and $50 million to Hamas, which controls Gaza.
Mladenov noted that Lebanon has been without a government for over eight months and called on all parties to resolve their differences so the country “can address the man pressing challenges it faces, including that of a struggling economy.”
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mladenov said that “we should have no illusions about the dangerous dynamics ... which continue to unfold before our eyes” and have eroded “the possibility of establishing a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.”
He pointed to Israel’s latest new settlement plans and approvals, nearly half to be built deep in the West Bank, which the Palestinians say must be part of their state. He also cited “additional attempts to pass legislation that would directly apply Israeli law to the territory of the occupied West Bank, raising fears of future annexation.”
Mladenov said the chance for peace opened more than 25 years ago with the Oslo accords, which were enshrined in UN resolutions and bilateral agreements, but has “eroded as the prospect for credible negotiations has dimmed, only to be replaced by the lack of hope and the growing risk of a one-state reality of perpetual occupation.”
He urged both sides to recommit to the principles in those agreements — that key issues can be resolved only through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, told the council that last year “Israel’s illegal occupation became more entrenched, more brutal and extreme” with the political process “deadlocked.”
“Day by day, the occupation is destroying the two-state solution and sowing deep despair among our people,” he said.
But despite “the dismal situation,” Mansour said, Palestinians “remain committed to non-violence, dialogue and the objectives of peace” and negotiations on a two-state solution. He urged regional and international efforts “to help overcome the impasse and contribute to the realization of a just solution as a matter of urgency.”