The year started with high anxiety with an escalation in the US-Iran conflict. US airstrike, which killed top Irani general and head of Quds army, Qassem Suleimani, dragged Iran to the brink of war, leading to chaos in the regime. Blinded by range, Iran fired and misfired missiles targeting US army base in Iraq and unfortunately ended up taking lives of 176 innocent passengers who boarded Ukrainian airliner on the morning of January 8 after takeoff from Tehran’s airport. Those killed in the crash included dozens of Iranians and Canadians, as well as Ukrainian nations, while some were citizens of the UK, Afghanistan, and Sweden.
After the regime admitted to its human error, the anti-government protests started in Iran on Saturday. The protesters took to the streets demanding justice over Iranian military’s mistakenly shooting down Ukrainian passenger, and later blaming it on ‘US adventurism’. Thousands poured out the Amir Kabir University in Tehran. Several other cities of Iran also saw similar public outrage with people chanting slogans against the leadership.
Multiple videos posted on social media websites showed demonstrators asking the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and prosecution for those responsible for the plane crash. Some chanted, “Death to the dictator”, while some shouted “Khamenei have shame. Leave the country.”, and “resignation is not enough, a trial is needed!” Iranian security forces intervened to disperse the demonstrators who came out for the candlelight vigil on Saturday. As per the reports, the angry protestors turned violent, which forced the anti-riot police to use tear gas and water cannons on the crowd.
US President Donald Trump, encashing on the state of chaos and global outrage, wrote a series of tweets in Farsi over the weekend expressing support for protesters and urging Iran’s leaders not to kill the protesters. In one tweet, Trump wrote, “To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”. Trump’s support comes a week after he threatened to destroy Iranian cultural sites with US missiles.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was “outraged” and “furious” by the Iranian regime’s first denial and then the admission of the attack on Ukrainian International Airline, which was carrying 57 Canadians.
Trudeau at a press briefing in Ottawa, called on Saturday, said “What Iran has admitted to is very serious. Shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific. Iran must take full responsibility,”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in a televised address, demanded punishment and compensation from Iran for committing the “disastrous mistake”.
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