Anti-government protests began in Iran last Thursday with tens of thousands of citizens estimated to have participated. What started as peaceful protests against rising food prices and a poor economy quickly devolved into challenging to ruling Iranian government. At least 20 casualties have been reported and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was dispatched to three provinces to suppress protesters. Iran’s Interior Ministry stated that upward of 42,000 civilians were involved in the protests.
From the beginning, the White House has been vocal in denouncing protest suppression activities by the Iranian government. On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted that he has “respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government,” and that the Iranian people “will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time.” This tweet followed Nikki Haley’s, US Ambassador to the United Nations, statement that the US will call for emergency sessions with the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council in Geneva to address Iran’s possible violations of human rights. On Thursday, Turkey and Russia criticized the US’s international call to action, saying that the US should not involve itself in Iran’s domestic issues. The current situation in Iran is unknown. Media outlets have been relying on social media posts by Iranian citizen for updates on the protests. Posts containing protest related content have greatly reduced over the last few days, but the reason for the reduction is unclear. The protests could legitimately be dying down, or the Iranian government could be censoring social media.