Published: Tue, January 14, 2020
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Iran Denies Shooting At Anti-Government Protesters Angry Over Jetliner Downing

Iran Denies Shooting At Anti-Government Protesters Angry Over Jetliner Downing

One video posted on social media allegedly shows members of the paramilitary Basij Resistance Force, which is often used to suppress domestic dissent, attacking protesters in the area.

U.S. President Donald Trump, tweeting on January 12 during the second day of Iranian demonstrations, told the authorities "don't kill your protesters".

Iran's government on Monday denied a "cover-up" after it took days for the armed forces to admit a Ukrainian airliner was shot down by mistake last week.

Videos shared online showed thousands of university students amassed outside of Tehran University on Sunday to protest the regime. Footage showed blood on the ground, wounded being carried and people who seemed to be security personnel running with rifles. Police also patrolled at Vali-e Asr Square, at Tehran University, and other landmarks around the city.

Protesters shouted demands for Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.

Reuters could not authenticate the videos.

However, Tehran's police chief General Hossein Rahimi later denied his officers opened fire.

This isn't the first time Trump has tweeted in Persian.

Iranian authorities killed hundreds of protesters in November in what appears to have been the bloodiest crackdown on anti-government unrest since the 1979 revolution. "The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment".

Protesters flooded the streets of Tehran both Saturday and Sunday night, demonstrating their anger at Iran shooting down the plane.

"They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here", one group of protesters chanted outside a university in Tehran, according to video posted on Twitter.

"Publishing content that insults the personality of martyrs is tantamount to the crime of spreading propaganda against the state", he said, according to Iran HRM. Speaking to the Today programme, the Conservative peer said: "I think what has happened is part of the regime, the Revolutionary Guards, have concealed from the rest of the regime what had actually happened. They condemned Iran's arrest of the UK Ambassador to Tehran as a violation of global law", the spokesman said, and added: "The leaders also discussed our shared interests in ensuring Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and reaffirmed their continued commitment to preserving the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)". It denies seeking nuclear arms.

The recent flare-up began in December when rockets fired at United States bases in Iraq killed an American contractor. "Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!" The militia responded by surrounding the USA embassy in Baghdad for two days.

Soleimani, who led the Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. air strike last week - igniting fears of a war between the two countries.

Iran responded with a barrage of missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq, inflicting no casualties in what was seen as an attempt to prevent a spiral of escalation.

Most of the people aboard the Ukraine International Airlines jet were Iranians and Iranian-Canadians. Prystaiko said Ukraine was not informed by Iran that it would be taking responsibility before that public announcement.

Furthermore, DNA samples have already been collected from relatives of the crash victims and the bodies are being identified, he said.

About 2,000 people packed a vigil for the air-crash victims in Toronto on Sunday, and a similar number attended a memorial in Edmonton, Alberta, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke.

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