Speed Reads

Unrest in Iran

Iranian protesters chant 'death to the dictator' despite their government's threats of violence

A third day of anti-government protests in Iran on Sunday saw demonstrators chanting "death to the dictator" and "death to Khamenei," the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, despite the government's warning that they will face an "iron fist" of punishment if unrest continues. So far, at least two protesters have been killed by gunshot wounds.

The protests started over state corruption and economic troubles but have taken on a more expansive mission. "Everyone is fed up with the situation, from the young to the old," one protester told The Guardian. "Every year thousands of students graduate, but there are no jobs for them. Fathers are also exhausted because they don't earn enough to provide for their family."

In Iran, "death to ___" chants typically do not mean a literal demand for the subject's death, says Foad Izadi, a University of Tehran professor, but are rather intended as a hyperbolic expression of extreme political displeasure.

President Trump again weighed in on the situation on Twitter Sunday, saying Iranians "are finally getting wise as to how their money is being stolen and squandered on terrorism" and that the U.S. is "watching very closely for human rights violations!"