happening in iran
November 19, 2019

At least 106 protesters are feared dead in Iran after the government gave security forces authority to use firearms, water cannons, tear gas, and batons against demonstrators, Amnesty International reports.

The protests began on Nov. 15 in response to the government's decision to raise fuel prices, and they spread to 100 cities. Amnesty International says it has reviewed video and spoken with eyewitnesses and activists who say Iranian security forces are using excessive and lethal force against protesters. The demonstrations have largely been peaceful, although there are reports of fires being set at banks and seminaries.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called the protesters "villains," and the government has severely limited internet access to the public. State media has reported that only a few protesters and four members of the security forces have died, but Amnesty International believes the actual death toll could be close to 200. "The authorities must end this brutal and deadly crackdown immediately and show respect for human life," Amnesty International's Philip Luther said in a statement. Catherine Garcia

June 7, 2017

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for twin attacks in Tehran on Wednesday, in which two groups of attackers hit the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic, and Iran's parliament, or Majlis. Up to seven people have been killed in the attacks, the Tasmin news agency said, and the attackers are still holed up in parliament, possibly with a handful of hostages. After holding a relatively normal session of parliament, and taking selfies to show they were okay, lawmakers have been escorted from the building by security forces, BBC News reports.

ISIS, a Sunni extremist group, provided no proof of responsibility and some of its past claims have been dubious, but if the group really did carry out the attack on the Shiite nation, it would be a first for ISIS. The streets around parliament are "under full control" by security forces, Iranian lawmaker Mojtaba Zonnour tells the Mehr news agency. "The security forces want to take the attackers alive so that they can find out who is behind the incident,” Zonnour told Mehr. The Associated Press reports that attackers inside parliament are shooting at people on the street, and government snipers are shooting at the assailants. Iran's Press TV posted some video.

One suicide bomber exploded his vest on the fourth floor of parliament, according to some media reports, and at least one suicide bomber hit the ayatollah's shrine, killing a security guard. The Iranian Intelligence Ministry says a "terrorist team" was prevented from carrying out a third attack, Reuters reports. Richard Haass, president of the Council of Foreign Relations, offered some unsolicited advice for President Trump on Wednesday morning: "Condemnation of terrorism cannot be selective if it is to have meaning. Must condemn it in Tehran as well as in Europe." Peter Weber

June 7, 2017

At least one person was killed and 12 injured in two apparently coordinated attacks in Tehran on Wednesday, Iranian state media report. A security guard was shot dead and four visitors wounded in an attack at the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the south of the city; security guards killed at least one "terrorist" and arrested a woman — possibly a wounded, unsuccessful suicide bomber — state TV said. Three or four gunmen stormed the parliament building in Tehran's center at about the same time, wounding eight people. Conflicting reports say that attack is either still ongoing or has ended. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, a rarity in Iran. Parliament was in session and remained so during the attack. Peter Weber

February 7, 2017

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei thanked President Donald Trump on Tuesday for revealing "the real face of the United States."

"What we have been saying, for over 30 years, about political, economic, moral, and social corruption within the U.S. ruling establishment, [Trump] came out and exposed during the election campaigns and after the elections," said Khamenei. "Now, with everything he is doing — handcuffing a child as young as 5 at an airport — he is showing the reality of American human rights."

Iran is one of seven nations affected by President Trump's executive order imposing strong travel restrictions on predominately Muslim countries.

Khamenei also dismissed a tweet by President Trump that criticized Iran for not appreciating how "kind" former President Barack Obama was:

"The new U.S. president says Iran should thank Obama! Why? Should we thank him for [creating] ISIS, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Syria, or the blatant support for the 2009 sedition in Iran?" said Khamenei. "He was the president who imposed paralyzing sanctions on the Iranian nation; of course, he did not achieve what he desired. No enemy can ever paralyze the Iranian nation."

Al Jazeera's Tehran-based Dorsa Jabbari commented on Khamenei's remarks: "This is the first time the supreme leader, the highest authority in the republic, has responded to Donald Trump's comments and threats towards Iran [with] very strong words," Jabbari said.

Khamenei additionally announced a demonstration against Trump on Feb. 10: "Trump says fear me! No. The Iranian nation will respond to your comments with a demonstration ... They will show others what kind of stance the nation of Iran takes when threatened," said Khamenei. Jeva Lange

May 17, 2016

In Iran, eight people have been arrested as part of an operation that tracks down women not wearing headscarves in Instagram photos.

Javad Babaei, the prosecutor of Tehran's cyber crimes court, said Sunday that social media poses "threats to morality and the foundation of family," and modeling agencies are behind roughly 20 percent of posts on Instagram from Iran that are "making and spreading un-Islamic culture and promiscuity." Since 1979, women in Iran have been required to cover their hair while in public.

Investigators say they have identified 170 people involved in online modeling, including 59 photographers and makeup artists, 58 models, and 51 designers and store managers, with 29 being warned they were subject to criminal investigation, the BBC reports. "The persons who reformed their behavior after receiving a notice did not face any judicial action, and eight out of the 29 have been arrested," Babaei said. Catherine Garcia

February 28, 2016

Partial election results released Sunday show Iran's reformists sweeping the country's parliamentary elections, winning all 30 seats in Tehran and handing the country's hard-liners a stark defeat. The victors are allies of reformist President Hassan Rouhani, who said Saturday "the people showed their power" by voting and "gave more credibility and strength to their elected government." These are the first elections in Iran since the country signed a nuclear deal, supported by Rouhani, with world powers last year. The final election results are expected Monday. Kimberly Alters

October 30, 2015

An Iranian-American businessman based in Dubai was arrested earlier this month in Iran, making him the fourth American holding dual citizenship to be held in Tehran.

People briefed on the situation told The Wall Street Journal that two weeks ago, Siamak Namazi, the head of strategic planning at Crescent Petroleum Co., was arrested while visiting relatives in Tehran. The arrest was made by the Revolutionary Guard's intelligence service, which reports to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not the Iranian government. Several businessmen interviewed from both inside and outside Iran told the Journal that in recent weeks, Iranian businessmen with ties to foreign companies have been detained, interrogated, and warned against getting involved in economic monopolies held by the Revolutionary Guard. Hardliners within the Iranian judiciary and intelligence services are also reportedly hoping to threaten the Iran nuclear deal by creating points of tension with the U.S.; they are against engaging with the West because they want to keep foreign influence out of the country.

Friends of Namazi's told the Journal that intelligence agents ransacked the home he was staying in, took his computer, and have launched cyberattacks against some of his email contacts. Namazi comes from a prominent Iranian family, and moved to the U.S. in 1983 when his father started working at the United Nations, The Washington Post reports. After college, he returned to Iran for compulsory military duty, and he wrote that he became a U.S. citizen in 1993 because it is easier to travel on a non-Iranian passport, and it helped him receive scholarships and grants for school. He wrote about Iran frequently, and published an op-ed in The New York Times in 2013, urging the West to relax sanctions so life-saving medicine could get into the country.

The U.S. State Department has been asking Iran, which does not recognize dual citizenship, to release three other Americans: Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who was recently convicted after an espionage trial; former Marine Amir Hekmati, accused of being a spy after traveling to Iran to visit his grandmother in 2011; and Saeed Abedini, a pastor convicted in 2013 of threatening Iran's national security by participating in home churches. All three deny the allegations. Catherine Garcia

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