On December 28, 2017, protests erupted in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, over high prices and corruption. Anti-government demonstrations quickly spread to dozens of cities. They were the largest show of opposition since 2009. Some of the rallies turned violent. More than 20 people reportedly died in clashes with security forces and more than a 3,000 have been arrested. But the size and frequency of demonstrations decreased after a week. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, downplayed the significance of the protests. “The relevant authorities have reported that there have been at most 42,000 people, and that is not a very high number,” he said.
President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that the government has not yet solved key economic and social problems. “Criticism about all affairs of the country is the right of the people, and we believe that the state and the country belong to the people, and people must express what they want,” he said during a cabinet meeting on December 31. Rouhani also thanked security forces for showing restraint.
Several officials blamed counter-revolutionaries and foreign governments — the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia — for the demonstrations. “The enemies are using the dollars allocated by Saudis who clearly expressed their wish to destabilize Iran,” charged Prosecutor General Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, accused the United States and Israel of “trying to drag the current insecurity in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan into Iran.” The following are excerpted remarks from Iranian officials.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Regarding the recent events, there has been various analysis. There is a correct point commonly made: that is separating people's honest and rightful demands from the violent and vandalizing moves by a certain group; these two must be separated. pic.twitter.com/3eaEsrP0cl— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
All moves against us, by the enemy, over the past 40 years are attacks on the Islamic Revolution. The Revolution politically eradicated the enemy from Iran.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
Once again, the nation tells the US, Britain, and those who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran from abroad that "you've failed, and you will fail in the future, too."— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
According to evidence of intelligence, there's been a triangle pattern activating these events. The scheme was formed by U.S. & Zionists. The money came fr a wealthy govt near Persian Gulf; the 3rd element were the henchmen. The butchers, MEK, were hired as minions for this plot.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
The U.S. is utterly angry; they're not only angry at this humble person. They're angry at everyone and everything, the nation, the establishment, and the Islamic Revolution of Iran; because they've been defeated by your great movement.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
US officials have started talking nonsense: US pres. says Iranian establishment's frightened by its ppl. No! Iranian establishment was born by these ppl, it's for ppl, relies on them.Why should it be scared of them? If it was not for these ppl, there wouldn't be an establishment.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
The U.S. President says the Iranian establishment is terrified by their power. Well, if we were so terrified by you, how did we kick you out of Iran in late 70s and send you packing, out of the entire region, in the 2010s?— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
US President says the Iranian people are hungry. Don't they see the 50 million Americans, or more, starving in US? Iranian people have lived a life of dignity and honor, and by God's grace their economic problems will be solved!— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
US Pres. expressed concerns. Do you have no shame? US police killed about 800 people in 1 year! US used any means possible to suppress people during the OWS movement. You've killed innocent people. You had false suspicions of a mother/w her child in the car & killed her!— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
U.S. officials should know that, firstly, they have missed their target: and if they target Iran again, they will fail. Secondly, they have inflicted damage upon Iran in recent days, and they should know this won't be left without a response.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
Thirdly, this man who sits at the head of the White House— although, he seems to be a very unstable man--he must realize that these extreme and psychotic episodes won't be left without a response.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 9, 2018
Iran’s Leader: Enemies using all means available to harm Islamic establishment pic.twitter.com/934xKbzZ41— Press TV (@PressTV) January 2, 2018
"What prevents the enemies and their hostile actions is the spirit of courage, self-sacrifice, and faith among the people."
"In recent events, the enemies of Iran united by using different tools in their disposition, including money, weapons, politics and intelligence, in order to create problems for the Islamic system."
"Regarding these events, I have more to say, which I will share with dear Iranian people at the right time."
― Jan. 2, 2018, speaking to families of war veterans
President Hassan Rouhani
Remarks in a cabinet meeting
“It should be clear to everyone that we are a free nation and, based on the constitution and citizenship rights, people are completely free in expressing criticisms and even their protests, but at the same time, we must pay attention to the way in which criticism and protest should be made to lead to better conditions for the country and people's lives.”
“The solution to some of these issues is not easy and it is time-consuming, and the government and the nation must join hands in solving these problems.”
“The government and people must join hands and help each other, but people's criticism is not just about the economy, but rather they have things to say about corruption and transparency and say that things should be transparent.”
“It is reckless to direct all criticisms of people towards the executive branch.”
“People have criticisms about fighting corruption more seriously and that why some things are not explained to them well.”
“Criticism about all affairs of the country is the right of the people, and we believe that the state and the country belong to the people, and people must express what they want.”
“While we welcome criticism, and the responsible authorities of the country should provide the ground for people's legitimate criticism and protest and even their demonstrations and legal gatherings, which is their right, but at the same time, we should not allow formation of an atmosphere in which revolution supporters and the people are concerned about their lives and their security.”
“If the way chosen to express criticism causes doubt and concern in people for their lives, business , travel and investment, and makes our enemies happy, then it is certainly a wrong way.”
“The man in the United States, who wants to sympathize with our people today, has forgotten that a few months ago, he called the Iranian nation terrorist; this person, who is against the Iranian nation head to toe, has no right to sympathize with Iranian people.”
“In our country, all ethnic and religious groups live together like brothers, and during the elections, people showed how much they are sensitive about national interests and the future of their country.”
“People's expectations and demands are right and proper, but if we choose a way to express our demands, it not acceptable that some enter and express wrong, false, malicious and trouble-making things that make the enemies happy and people concerned; so everyone should pay attention to this.”
“Of course, this does not mean that the problems of the people have been resolved and the people have no problems today, but all the social and economic indices show that our country has taken steps since four years ago.”
“Today, our situation has improved in fields such as healthcare, economic stability, the situation of the villages and helping the very poor, compared to the past. With regard to sanctions and Iran's national rights and influence on regional stability and security, we now have different conditions, but it does not mean that all people's problems have been resolved.”
“It is true that steps have been taken, but the decline in people's purchasing power since 5-6 years ago has not yet been completely compensated; people have problems and these problems must be solved.”
“We have air, water, employment, and economic, social and political problems in the country.”
“Everyone should feel that they are present in the national media and can express their opinions. People should feel that they can express themselves in the media.”
“But at the same time, the government will definitely not tolerate any group that wants to destroy public property, disrupt the social order or create chaos in society.”
“Criticism must be expressed in clear language, but it should be noted that people also want peace and security.”
“Our people want conditions in which they can invest better, but if we are in an unrest, will our employment rate increase and people's economic situation get better?”
“Today, the U.S. government faces a lot of problems inside their country, causing the American people to worry about their political and social conditions."
“The person who is working against the Iranian nation every day cannot be sympathetic to the Iranian nation; also, those couple of Arab states of the region that have been working against the Iranian nation during these years cannot be sympathetic towards the Iranian nation.”
“I thank all security and law enforcement officials who did not act violently and have kept their patience towards people.”
“You must inform the people on a daily basis, and if a problem arises, people should be informed about it.”
“What we want today from our young people is that we should be more vigilant in the current sensitive conditions of the region and the country.”
“The problems and issues, which are related to a group of people in the country, should be explained within a legal framework, but choosing other ways can be dangerous for our country, our security and our future, and I'm sure people prefer legal and logical way.”
“The way to achieve such a goal is people's help, presence, and paying attention to the future and the results.”
“I have no doubt that our government, as what the people have chosen, can easily solve many of the problems with their help and it needs patience because some of these problems are time-consuming.”
—Dec. 31, 2017, in a cabinet meeting
Remarks to the heads of parliamentary committees
“Our economic condition is better than world's mean but this does not mean that all problems have been solved.”
“People have problems; this is natural and we have to solve these problems. So, there are some who have objections or criticisms. Their criticism is right; however, they must choose the right path to express criticism. Some have entered here, who are abusing the situation by provoking others.”
“Unity among authorities is the first step to solve problems.”
—Jan. 1, 2018, in a meeting with the heads of parliamentary committees
Remarks in a meeting with Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance and his deputies
"Everywhere in the world, some misuse people's demands and protest to their own advantage, but people are right to say 'see us, listen to us, and respond to our demands'."
"One cannot impose their lifestyle on future generations."
"The enemies that people drove out of Iran with the use of the revolution, want our country to be in state of unrest."
"Our country has an influential position in the region and the world, and we are faced with sworn enemies."
"Today, some in the region are hostile to our country alongside the Zionist regime and the United States. Of course, the United States has already been hostile towards the Iranian nation before the revolution and supported the regime of the dictator at that time, and all parts of Iran were controlled by the Americans. Therefore, it is natural that when the Iranian people drove them out of the most important and sensitive country in the world, they become upset and angry and want our country to not be calm."
"The United States' political reputation was tarnished in the UN Security Council for abusing the recent incidents."
"To solve problems, individuals and the status quo should be criticized, rather than negation. Authorities are not infallible and all authorities can be criticised and if this criticism is accompanied by hope, will and correct solution, it will be very fruitful."
"Criticism is useful; but if it is accompanied by hope, will and the right solution."
"It is a misleading and insulting point of view that people's demands are only limited to economic issues."
"If we fully accept that people are everything, the problems will be solved. If we talk with people transparently, our problems will be solved."
"The path of economic engagement of people should be facilitated; the first step is cultural development."
"In 1397 budget bill, we have anticipated some notes on the elimination of absolute poverty; the Majlis and its members should not retreat for any reason."
"We have planned $70bn worth employment for our young generation; this goal should not be hindered."
"It is the responsibility of the parliament to complete, help, and reform; not change the nature and purpose of the budget bill."
"Everyone should go to the glass room so that people can know and judge them."
"The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) must echo the nation's opinions, not a single faction."
"People's access to cyberspace should not be cut permanently; one cannot be indifferent to people's lives and businesses."
"Every technology can be abused by some; we cannot block the technology and the benefits that people are taking from it."
"People should be well informed about the regional and global conditions of economy and the growing trend of indices in Iran."
"It must be made clear to the people that the government has chosen the right course in economy."
"The main purpose of 1397 budget is to improve people's lives."
"The culture of insurance must be developed so that people's lives suffer less from incidents. Insurers should not think about high profits; insurance should be competitive in the interests of people."
"People should be informed about who receives budget from public resources."
"With transparency, criticism is heard better and corruption and problems will be eliminated."
—Jan. 8, 2018, in a meeting with the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance and his deputies
Remarks in a cabinet session
"The main approach of the government in the budget bill of year 1397 is boosting employment and eliminating poverty."
"When the Supreme Leader of the revolution humbly considers himself the addressee of people's rightful demands, this means that all authorities must acknowledge the problems and exercise unity and empathy to disappoint the enemy from their conspiracies."
—Jan. 10, 2018, in a cabinet meeting
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif
Iran's security and stability depend on its own people, who — unlike the peoples of Trumps regional "bffs”—have the right to vote and to protest. These hard-earned rights will be protected, and infiltrators will not be allowed to sabotage them through violence and destruction.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 2, 2018
Trump has an odd way of showing “such respect” for Iranians: from labeling them a "terrorist nation" & banning them from visiting the US, to petty insults on the name of the Persian Gulf. But best of all, "helping them" by depriving them of the economic dividends from the #JCPOA.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 4, 2018
The UNSC rebuffed the US' naked attempt to hijack its mandate. Majority emphasized the need to fully implement the JCPOA and to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of others. Another FP blunder for the Trump administration. Iran's statement: https://t.co/QsbihBW69V— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 5, 2018
U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo
Letter to the UN Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council
Upon instructions from my Government and pursuant to my previous letter dated 19 June 2017 regrading US interventionist policy, I have the honor to draw your attention to the most recent and wide-ranging attempts by the Government of the United States to intervene in the domestic affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Against the backdrop of continuous attempts by previous US administrations to disrupt the course of normal political, social and cultural life in Iran in the past several decades, starting from the coup against Iran’s democratically elected Prime minister in 1953, the current US administration has crossed every limit in flouting rules and principles of international law governing the civilized conduct of international relations.
In the past several days, the US administration, led by the US President, has stepped up its acts of intervention in a grotesque way in Iran’s internal affairs under the pretext of providing support for sporadic protests, which in several instances were hijacked by infiltrators to include acts of senseless homicide – including the murder of a 12-year-old boy and his father, blind violence and rampant destruction. The President and Vice-President of the United States, in their numerous absurd tweets, incited Iranians to engage in disruptive acts. The US Department of State went so far as admitting that the US Government wants to encourage protestors in Iran to change their Government, admitting that the US is engaged in interfering with the internal affairs of Iran through Facebook and Twitter.
The current US administration, despite its recent empty statements, has continuously insulted the great Iranian nation and displayed open hostility towards Iranian people, including inter alia by banning ordinary Iranian citizens from entering the United States. It has furthermore violated even its own commitments under the JCPOA by continuing to impose unlawful sanctions against Iran and by taking every possible devious measure to prevent Iranian people from enjoying the economic dividends of US sanction-lifting obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
I wish to underline that the right to protest is recognized and guaranteed in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In exercising this constitutionally-sanctioned principle, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins occur almost on a daily basis by groups of individuals representing various interests in different corners of the country. As in all other democracies, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to protect this right as well as the safety and security of its citizens against acts of violence and destruction.
The flagrant acts of intervention currently undertaken by the US Government are in contravention of peremptory norms of international law and in defiance to the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter. My Government expects that all states condemn such dangerous statements and policies and urge the US Government to act responsibly and to adhere to principles of the UN Charter and international law.
I should be grateful if your Excellency would have the present letter circulated as a document of the Security Council.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
― Jan. 3, 2018, in a letter to the UN Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council
Statement at the emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Iran
The move by the United States to bring to this Council protests in Iran by some of our citizens for their legitimate grievances — some exacerbated by none other than the U.S. itself in its dereliction of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action —is an abuse of its power as a Permanent Member, and an abuse of the Council itself.
It is unfortunate that despite the resistance on the part of some of its members, this Council has allowed itself to be abused by the current US administration in holding a meeting on an issue that falls outside the scope of its mandate, putting on display the failure of the Council to fulfill its real responsibility in maintaining international peace and security.
It is a discredit for the Security Council to take up a matter that is of a purely domestic nature while failing abjectly to lift a finger when it comes to genuine issues, such as the long-lasting occupation of Palestinian territory – to which this item is dedicated and the indiscriminate bombing of Yemen in the past three years, which has so far resulted in the deaths of thousands of human beings and has brought hunger, disease and destruction on the Yemeni people. The list of such failures of the Council are all attributable to the obstructionist approach by the US delegation and goes on and on.
This is nothing but another desperate attempt by the US administration to escape forward, as it has lost every shred of moral, political and legal authority and credibility in the eyes of the whole world. Following such acts of disruption taken by this US administration as flouting international law and disrespecting the practices of civilized behavior in international politics, this administration is now desperately reaching for every straw that keeps it afloat.
There is a long history of U.S. bullying at the UN, but this is a preposterous example—the purely internal affairs of a nation—in this case protests that the Iranian government has addressed with the utmost respect for the rights of protestors and with every attempt to deal with peacefully, despite violent infiltrators and direct encouragement by foreign forces including by the President of the United States—is not the subject of debate by the world’s most important security organ.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, for those who may not remember, also the United States’ long history of interventions in the internal affairs of Iran. A continuous pattern of disruption in the course of the democratization process in Iran can be traced back to the coup staged by the US against Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister in 1953. Hostile acts intensified once Iranians rose up to overthrow their dictator ruler – who was unsurprisingly loved by the US government. Since then, among others, the US has backed attempted military coups and acts of sabotage in Iran; imposed illegal and inhumane unilateral sanctions against ordinary Iranians; unconditionally supported Saddam Hussein in his eight-year destructive war against Iranians, including by providing him with chemical weapons; and even directly engaged in military confrontation with Iran in defense of Saddam. I should also refer to the 290 innocent lives lost— including 66 children— on board Iran Air 655 shot down in July 1988 by the US Navy in the Persian Gulf. It would be a remiss of me not to recall that the US shamelessly decorated the commander who gave the order to fire.
While President Trump may be enamored of the fact that no protesters demonstrated against his presence while he was in our neighborhood a few months ago—he may be unaware that they have no right to protest—the fact is that in every democratic country, citizens will, from time to time, take to the streets to protest one thing or another, and Iran is no exception. In every country the security forces—be they police, gendarmes, national guards or others—are present to ensure that protests remain peaceful, and Iran is, again, no exception. However, while the U.S. accuses Iran of “suppressing” protests, one can only gasp at the hypocrisy when viewing images of Occupy Wall Street protestors beaten and dragged by American policemen, or to go back in time, when National Guardsmen fired on and killed peaceful student protestors at Kent State University, or to watching film of the protests outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
Or, more recently we can rewind to the 1992 Los Angeles riots over the brutal beating of Rodney King by policemen—and killings of innocent African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement continue unabated, as we all know—when the California Army National Guard, the 7th Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division were called in to restore order. A total of 63 people were killed during the uprising; 2383 were injured, and more than 12,000 were arrested. I don’t recall any member of the UNSC calling for debate on this issue, when the US military was involved in suppressing domestic unrest. Nor was there debate in 1993 when the FBI raided the Branch Davidian headquarters in Waco, Texas, after a 51-day standoff, killing 83 men, women and children, the vast majority of whom were entirely innocent of any crime. It would behoove Ms. Haley—who perhaps was busy with other priorities at the time of their occurrence—to read up on these travesties of justice on American soil before condemning others for far less.
But it is not just the U.S. that has an unenviable record in dealing with protestors: In 2005 in France, then Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy declared a “zero tolerance” policy towards protests emanating from the deprived suburbs of Paris and other major French cities, referring to demonstrators—largely poor immigrants—as “scum”. With almost 3,000 arrests and several deaths, the unrest was only quelled to reemerge in multiple other forms, most recently in 2017, when the police rape of a young French citizen of African origin once again triggered protests. I do not, however, recall the UNSC being summoned for debate on this.
And in 2011 in the United Kingdom, then Home Secretary Theresa May “utterly condemned” the violence amid protests in her country, saying, “Such disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron warned rioters, “You will feel the full force of the law. And if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment." In the span of merely a few days, some 3,100 arrests were made and with the authorities told that they could ignore existing sentencing guidelines, two young men who promoted riots via Facebook, with the proposed disturbances not attended by any other people, were handed four-year sentences.
I do not recall any country bringing any of these reactions to protests—across the self-described “civilized” democracies—to the attention of, let alone opening to debate at the United Nations Security Council.
We have hard evidence of the violence in Iran by a handful of the protestors, in some cases resulting in the death of policemen and security officers, being very clearly directed from abroad. These violent elements surfaced in the crowds as early as Friday evening last week, at the inception of the protests. At that point, the hands of elements from outside Iran, including instigators based in the United States and Europe, began to be visible: incitement to violence included encouraging and training people to use Molotov cocktails, to seize ammunition depots, and to stage an armed uprising.
One U.S. resident took to social media to order the killing of 120 members of our security forces, threatening that “those who will be included among the killed are “their families, [too] in their homes.” This same U.S. resident publicly stated to U.S. media, with complete sense of impunity that “they should burn down government mosques and police stations.”
It was clear enough to not just us but also third parties that Telegram Messenger executives decided to block some of the violence-inciting channels, citing a “line one shouldn’t cross.”
All of this is also well documented in the mainstream media. In one case, a man with extensive criminal record, captured a fire engine and ran it over a car, murdering the driver and his 12-year-old son. In some other cases, hooligans got involved and looted shops and banks. Altogether the peaceful, legitimate protests—which my government emphatically confirmed are a constitutional right which has been respected since the Islamic Revolution—were abused and hijacked to stage arson, vandalism, hooliganism, and in several cases the firing of weapons.
President Trump and some other U.S. politicians have joined ISIS and its patrons in our region to openly incite and encourage violence. It is the ultimate irony that the country whose head of state has thrown his lot in with those visiting violence and destruction on Iran has its UN Ambassador, who has a history of ignorant and belligerent comments on my country (and even has trouble identifying whether a country is fictitious or not), bring it as an issue for debate to the Security Council. If anything, it is Iran that should be demanding a debate and investigation into how and why foreign elements, with impunity, are allowed to encourage and support unrest and violence in another sovereign and founding member of the United Nations. For example, let’s debate why the United States has failed, in spite of repeated official requests, to stop the incitement to violence and murder of innocent civilians from its territory? Or why some European countries continue to provide safe haven to terrorists who are inciting violence and armed rioting as we speak? Why social media sites that promote and teach the use of Molotov Cocktails and boast about people using arms to kill in Iran operate freely in their territory in spite of clear evidence. These are the real issues that need to be addressed.
To make this farce into something more than a mere waste of time, let us discuss something else that this Council hasn't but should deal with: The free flow of information has brought with it the spread of fake news and other forms of information wars. These threats are common to all free and sovereign nations. We are not alone in finding it necessary to formulate solutions to these challenges. Recently, French President Macron also lauded efforts to increase transparency about the ownership of websites, including their foreign funding; further empowerment of government agencies to fight against “any attempt at destabilization” by TV stations controlled or influenced by foreign states; and also suggested countering social media channels used as propaganda by introducing laws to disclose the source of funding for particularly sponsored content.
These measures are not needed to simply fight back against fake news, rioters and electoral interference, but more ominously in the fight against terrorists, including ISIS. This fight, distinguished members and colleagues, is not zero sum: we will either win together or lose together.
― Jan. 5, 2018, in a statement at the emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Iran
Revolutionary Guards Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari
“Our security system’s readiness and people’s vigilance made the enemy taste yet another defeat."
“A lack of control over the cyberspace, which is managed from outside the country, and the officials’ failure to control it further fuelled the riots; however, when the virtual world were controlled the riots decreased."
"The enemies know that they cannot threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran in the defense domain, whatsoever."
"They have spent all their assets following the Holy Defence era to carry out their cultural, economic and security threats against Islamic Iran, and, By God’s grace, they will undoubtedly be defeated."
“When a nation is victorious in a region gripped by tension and chaos, and when this nation rejects the United States’ domination and does not care about America’s cronies which are in the pay of Washington, and when it stands by the oppressed and against oppressors, it is natural that it will be threatened. Such threats have always been there, and we need to remain vigilant."
"Let the enemies and the ones who are in their pay such as the Al Saud shout and call us names, but they know that our path and objective have been fruitful in the world."
“The criminal group’s advance elements are completely under control now, and we dare the terror group’s weak forces to cross the borders of Islamic Iran."
“If these liars really cared about Iranian people, they would have never imposed sanctions on them.”
“Some people feel that friendship with the US will improve the economic situation, but they should look at countries such as Egypt, which sacrificed everything it had for friendship with the United States."
"Today, the enemy’s policies in the region have failed, and all it can do is to create insecurity in Iran. People and officials should know that the cost of compromising with the enemy would be much higher than the cost of resistance."
― Jan. 3, 2018, according to Iran Front Page News
Protests “were a maximum of 1,500 people in each place, and the number of troublemakers did not exceed 15,000 people nationwide.”
― Jan. 3, 2018, according to Reuters
Prosecutor General Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri
“The stature and status of our beloved nation is much higher than being put in the same category with rioters and we have to distinguish between those who have legitimate demands and those who are seeking anarchy."
“Behind these riots and anarchies are fierce enemies who have repeatedly received blows from the Islamic Establishment since the time of the Islamic Revolution and have asserted in many occasions that they are after taking revenge from the great nation of Iran, the Islamic Revolution, and the country."
“Assuredly our nation has got the required shrewdness to reach the appropriate conclusion that this movement is totally rooted in foreign plots."
“The enemies are using the dollars allocated by Saudis who clearly expressed their wish to destabilize inside Iran to take revenge of the blows they have conceded from Iran."
"A bunch of scavengers and vultures who were waiting for an unrest to take advantage of the disgusting corpse of these riots were completely recognized by Iranian intelligence and security agents."
― Jan. 2, 2018, according to Mehr News
“The mastermind of the project was an American named Michael D’Andrea, former Chief of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center, and an operations room composed of three sides, namely the United States, Zionist regime and Al Saud, was formed for leading the unrest. The project was funded by Saudi Arabia and mainly planned by D’Andrea and an intelligence officer affiliated with Mossad.”
“The US president immediately began to post several tweets in support of the unrest in Iran, and was soon followed by UK, the Zionist regime, and come European countries. This trend was calculated and pre-planned.”
― Jan. 4, 2018, according to Mehr News
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi
“The completely contradictory and haphazard stances adopted by Donald Trump against the Iranian people are nothing new.”
“He recently called Iranians a ‘terrorist nation’ and provoked their anger by using a fabricated name for the Persian Gulf, and now under the façade of compassion for them, he is addressing this culturally-rich nation with a thousand-year-old civilization with offensive words.”
“Trump would better deal with the daily murders of dozens of US citizens in mass shootings and the existence of millions of homeless and hungry in his own country."
"He should take lessons from the ancient Iranian morality code of good deeds and good words and incorporate them in his own behavior."
― Jan. 2, 2018, in a statement, according to Mehr News
Senior Advisor to the Supreme Leader, Ali Akbar Velayati
"The government has used all available methods to reduce prices and eliminate the shortcomings."
“Our knowledgeable people are well aware of the government problems and imposed sanctions effects on our country.”
“Those who turned to violence during the protests and burned the country’s flag were representatives of those who want to burn the nation’s roots. We will burn the roots of Zionist regime in the region.”
"They know that this nation, which is more than 10,000 years old, will remain. Although there have been political, cultural setbacks in the long history of the nation, it has always refused subjugation.”
“Iran is increasing its power in the regional and international arena on a daily basis and incidents like these are the beginning of the fall of its internal and international enemies.”
― Jan. 3, 2018, speaking at a ceremony at the Islamic Azad University in Rasht, according to Mehr News
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
"Resorting to violence and vandalism would undermine security in the country and disrupt the process of production and job creation, reminding the vandals and arsonists that they have to pay the price for their conducts.
Calm, obedience to law, unity, coordination and cooperation are the best approaches for pursuing the public demands and ensuring security."
― Dec. 31, 2017, in a statement, according to Tasnim News
"Our enemies, especially those who have no standing in their countries and not been elected by people, have claimed to be supporting our people's rights in the past few days," he said on Sunday.
"The occupying Zionist regime, the reactionary regimes in the region and the US are gleefully turning over images in their faulty minds as if something were happening in Iran."
"They have not recognized our people yet."
― Dec. 31, 2017, in a statement, according to PressTV
“The issue of the violent unrest in Iran was not even raised in the country’s Supreme National Security Council."
“We should preserve the current condition and work at a high speed and with high motivation to strengthen our national solidarity under the guidance of the leader of the Islamic Revolution.”
“But with hard efforts by the government officials, we have taken long steps to relieve the burden of the economic problems.”
“Moderation makes up the basis of most politicians’ career and only a few politicians view their success in radicalism or illogical principles but these people are in minority.”
“We saw the hands of certain states which cannot accept the authority and sovereignty of the Islamic Republic.”
― Jan. 4, 2018, in an address at an official ceremony in the central city of Semnan, according to Iran Front Page News
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Chairman of the Parliament's Foreign Policy Commission
“The US and the Zionist regime are trying to drag the current insecurity in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan into Iran."
“The recent sad events that took place in a number of cities across the country stemmed from the rightful demands of people from bankrupt financial institutions; unfortunately, the enemies of the Islamic Revolution and their internal affiliates made efforts to deviate the path of these rightful protests toward riot and unrest.”
"Such events in the free atmosphere of our country are very natural to happen, but the Iranian nation will not allow any countries to intervene in their domestic affairs.”
― Jan. 4, 2018, speaking to reporters, according to Mehr News
Army Chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi
“Although this blind sedition was so small that a portion of the police force was able to nip it in the bud ... you can rest assured that your comrades in the Islamic Republic’s army would be ready to confront the dupes of the Great Satan (United States)."
― Jan. 4, 2018, speaking to Iranian media, according to Reuters
Secretary of the Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati
“There were two groups of people attending these recent protest; one group were the people who were rightfully unhappy with economic problems, but the other group was made up of those who wished to take advantage of the time to deliver a blow to the country."
“This group of people are different from our nation and should be distinguished as they have been clearly encouraged by the fierce enemies of the Islamic Iran like Saudi Arabia, US, Israel, and UK."
― Jan. 1, 2018, according to Mehr News
Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council Mohsen Rezaei
“US authorities will be once again forced to apologize to the great Iranian nation over their interventions in our domestic affairs; the same way that Clinton had to apologize for the behavior of his predecessors.”
― Jan. 3, 2018, in a tweet, according to Mehr News
Ayatollah Seyed Ahmad Khatami
"The arrogant world is witnessing defeat regularly."
"The anti-Islamic Revolution rioters tried to bring the protests under their control, but the people separated their way from them."
"It was not the protesters who attacked mosques and religious places, but they were rioters who had been trained by the enemies of Islamic Establishment."
"You saw that when cyberspace was restricted and shut down, the sedition collapsed. As the Leader has repeatedly warned, the cyberspace today is like an artillery which is permanently shelling Iranian nation, so that artillery should be dismantled."
― Jan. 5, 2018, during Friday prayers in Tehran, according to Mehr News
Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari
“None of our officers were carrying live bullets. Besides, experienced personnel were deployed [to control the protests] and the arrests were made selectively.”
“The deaths were suspicious and [the related cases] are under investigation.”
—Jan. 17, 2018, on the sidelines of a conference, according to ISNA and Iran Front Page
Click here for a timeline on the protests.
Click here for U.S. reactions and statements.
Mattisan Rowan, a program assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace contributed to this report.