Iran TV silences anti-regime stadium chants

Heavy reporting restrictions and reports of mobile Internet black-outs in affected areas have made it difficult to verify claims by the authorities and on social media. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 12 August 2018

Iran TV silences anti-regime stadium chants

  • Mobile phone footage shared widely on social media showed thousands of fans in Tehran’s Azadi stadium chanting “Death to the dictator”
  • Regime fears mass protest, analyst tells Arab News

LONDON: Iranian TV turned down the volume on anti-government slogans chanted during a football match amid widespread public protests over the economy and Tehran’s foreign interventions.

Videos on social media showed thousands of fans in Tehran’s Azadi stadium chanting “death to the dictator.” But state broadcaster IRIB muted the sound and avoided images of the crowd in its broadcast of the match. 

One Twitter user said: “Yesterday, when the football was being shown, the sound in the stadium was turned down to such a level that one would think they were playing in an alleyway.”

“They turned down the volume so no one could hear the slogans,” wrote another.

IRIB’s football commentators blamed “network disruption” for the low volume, without giving details.

Alireza Nader, an independent Iran scholar based in Washington, said Tehran was trying to avoid acknowledging the extent of public protests in the country.

“The regime doesn’t want to know that there is a mass opposition movement in Iran. These images prove it,” he told Arab News.

 

US sanctions

Protests have rocked major cities across Iran — including Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad — amid mounting anger over the country’s economy and political system.

They coincide with a new wave of US sanctions on Iran, the first phase of which was introduced on Tuesday, and involves blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials among other measures.

It emerged on Saturday that Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi is to visit Iran next week to discuss economic affairs in the wake of the new sanctions. 

Abadi, who will also visit Turkey, said earlier that Iraq would comply with the sanctions but said they were a “strategic error.” 


Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

Updated 23 October 2019

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

  • Rabbani’s departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago
  • Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process

KABUL: Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tendered his resignation on Wednesday following differences with President Ashraf Ghani, who Rabbani accused of sidelining him.
His departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago, and served as acting minister on the basis of an order by the president.
Rabbani is an ally of Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with Ghani and is the president’s election rival.
Rabbani’s resignation comes weeks ahead of the possible formation of a new government if an election winner is announced.
“During my time, the working environment in the National Unity Government was not good from the start,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
“I witnessed parallel structures being created and have seen essential institutions — key pillars of the system — pushed to the side.”
The presidential palace had no immediate comment about Rabbani’s resignation or his allegations, which according to his supporters include being barred from attending conferences and events overseas that fall under his remit.
Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process, which included a warm reception in Islamabad to a visiting Taliban delegation. The Afghan presidential palace openly opposed Pakistan’s warm welcome of the delegation.