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Protests in Iran continue into second week as State Department tweets message of support for protesters


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Protests in Iran continued on Monday as more Iranians took to the streets to show their contempt for the regime in Tehran. Over the weekend, reports said up to five people had been killed following a crackdown by authorities. A semi-official government news agency put the death toll from the protests at one according to the Associated Press.

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The protests began last week when the government cut food subsidies on eggs, milk, chicken and cooking oil, driving prices up around 300%. Since then, the protests have spread to many parts of the country and, according to observers, have taken on a much more anti-government undercurrent.

Iran protests on video via The Foreign Desk
(Courtesy of The Foreign Desk)

Demonstrators, showing no fear of reprisals from the state security services, were heard shouting: “Death to Khamenei! Death to Raisi!” referring to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who promised to create jobs, lift sanctions and save the economy.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted a message to protesters

His tweet read: “Brave Iranian protesters stand up for their rights. The Iranian people have the right to hold their government to account. We support their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression online and offline – without fear of violence and reprisal.

Prior to Price’s tweet, some users with the hashtag #IranProtests2022 had complained that the State Department’s Farsi-language Twitter account was promoting an exercise video.

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Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), told Fox News Digital that “the million dollar question for the Biden administration is: does it ever consider act on his declared support for the Iranian protesters?

He noted that there are several ways to do this, including naming officials who support or are engaged in repression, “or at the very least, breaking off nuclear talks and announcing the end of his quest for resuscitate a deal that empowers the worst of the worst at the expense of the Iranian people.”

The Foreign Desk website reported that in addition to the five deaths, there were dozens of arrests. Citing protesting Iranians, the message was clear.

A woman from Tehran, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Foreign Desk, said: “People have become braver than ever, and maybe that’s because they’ve hit rock bottom. They feel like they have nothing to lose.

He also quoted Jamshad of Shiraz calling on the United States to do more. “We need help. The American and central media know their power. They are the ones who must help us.” Jamshad, who withheld his last name for security reasons, continued: “The West only focuses on the Iran deal. When it comes to Iran, they forget about us. They forget about human rights,” he said.

Former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who was visiting an Iranian opposition group in Albania, also weighed in on Monday’s protests.

Pompeo was Secretary of State under President Trump when the United States left the Iran nuclear deal. He was also instrumental in placing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). In March, Fox News reported that the Biden administration was considering removing the IRGC from the terrorism list as part of ongoing negotiations. to join the nuclear deal.

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During his speech to the MEK, an Iranian opposition group, Pompeo said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is failing the Iranian people.

“You should know that Raisi has failed before. He failed to crush the uprisings in Iran or break the noble spirit of decency among the Iranian people and resistance is part of achieving that.”

During his visit to the headquarters of the organization known as Ashraf 3, Pompeo met with its leader Maryam Rajavi where the two discussed the situation in Iran.

Adam Shaw, Bradford Betz and Fox News’ Associated Press contributed to this article.

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