The anti-government protests in Tehran expand after Iran shoots down a Ukrainian passenger plane. According to the Ina news agency, up to 3,000 people demonstrated on Asadi Square in the capital on Sunday and also criticized the fact that the Iranian leadership had covered up the facts. According to the report, there were calls for the resignation of all officials involved. The police and security forces tried to end the protests. US President Donald Trump demonstratively backed the demonstrators via Twitter - to Iran's anger.
Hundreds of people, mostly students, had protested against the leadership of the Islamic Republic in the days following the accidental launch of the scheduled aircraft last Wednesday. At this point in time, the Iranian authorities still maintained that a technical defect had caused the plane to crash. On Saturday, the military then admitted the plane was accidentally shot down. The entire Iranian leadership expressed regret at the incident.
Trump warns Tehran's leadership
The launch of the machine coincided with the escalation of the conflict between the United States and Iran. The trigger was the killing of the Iranian general Kassem Soleimani by a targeted drone attack by the US military in Baghdad - as Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had to concede without the US having any concrete evidence of the commander's plans to attack. The air strike was followed by an Iranian retaliation attack on military bases in Iraq that were also used by the United States. Also on Sunday, eight storeys hit the Balad Air Force base in Iraq, which was used by US troops.
The US President has now warned the Iranian leadership against violent action against protesting government critics. "Don't kill their protesters," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Thousands of you have already been killed or detained." His National Security Advisor believes that the sanctions and protests will force Iran to the negotiating table. "In fact, I couldn't care less whether they negotiate. It will be entirely up to them, but: no nuclear weapons and 'don't kill your demonstrators," he wrote. The United States and the whole world would watch, Trump warned, and later repeated the Twitter message in Persian.
Iran described Trump's statements via Twitter as absurd. "Stand alongside or against the Iranians if you have their national hero (Soleimani) killed in a terrorist operation," said Foreign Office spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Twitter. In addition, Trump has no right to tweet in Persian after terrorizing the Iranian people for years with threats and sanctions.