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Iran State TV: 12 Lives Lost In Protests, Attacks On Security

Monday, January 1, 2018
AP Photo

By NASSER KARIMI and JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — At least 12 people have lost their lives in the ongoing protests in Iran, and armed protesters have tried to take over police stations and military bases, state TV reported Monday.

The protests began Thursday in Mashhad over economic issues and have since expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

The state TV report said 10 protestors died during clashes Sunday night, without elaborating. Two demonstrators lost their lives during a protest in western Iran late Saturday.

"Some armed protesters tried to take over some police stations and military bases but faced serious resistance from security forces," state TV reported. It did not say where those attacks occurred.

State TV aired images of burning buildings, as well as an ambulance crew trying to aid a wounded person amid a crowd of shouting people. It also showed a fire truck that appeared to have been attacked and burned.

Later Monday, state TV said six people were dead in the western town of Tuyserkan, 295 kilometers (185 miles) southwest of Tehran. It said three others also lost their lives in the town of Shahinshahr, 315 kilometers (195 miles) south of Tehran. It did not say where the 10th person was found dead.

Earlier Monday, the semi-official ILNA news agency quoted Hedayatollah Khademi, a representative for the town of Izeh, as saying two people died there Sunday night. It was not clear if they were included in the state TV toll.

He said the cause of death wasn't immediately known. Many in Izeh, some 455 kilometers (280 miles) southwest of Tehran, have hunting rifles in their homes.

On Sunday, Iran blocked access to Instagram and the popular messaging app Telegram used by activists to organize. President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the public's anger over the Islamic Republic's flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn't hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.

That was echoed Monday by Iranian judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who urged authorities to strongly confront rioters, state TV reported.

"I demand all prosecutors across the country to get involved and approach should be strong," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been tweeting in support of protesters in Iran, continued into the New Year, describing the country as "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," he wrote. "They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!"

While some have shared Trump's tweets, many in Iran distrust him as he's refused to re-certify the nuclear deal and as his travel bans have blocked Iranians from getting U.S. visas.

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.