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Westlake Legal Group > Rouhani, Hassan

Protests in Iran: Rage Over Downed Jet, as Lawmakers Demand Accountability

Widespread anger over the Iranian government for shooting down a passenger plane and then misleading the public about it simmered for a third day on Monday, with the police and protesters facing off in at least two cities and increasing demands from lawmakers for accountability.

After days of denials, Iran acknowledged Saturday that it had mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian airliner plane, killing 176 people.

A government spokesman, Ali Rabeei, said Monday that Iranian officials had not lied to the public when it insisted the plane crashed because of mechanical problems, but was providing the limited information it had. He said that President Hassan Rouhani had learned that missiles were fired at the plane only on Friday, two days after it crashed near the Tehran airport.

Demands for government resignations spread Monday from hard-liners, who support Iran’s clerical government and called for officials to step down over the weekend, to members of the more moderate reformist parties, Mr. Rouhani’s base.

Bahram Parsaie, a prominent lawmaker from Shiraz, said that it was not enough for Mr. Rouhani and his government to issue statements and that they needed to resign. He warned that if the president and his cabinet were not transparent with the public, Parliament would take legal action against them.

Ali Shakouri Rad, the head of a reformist political party, said the growing rift between the public and the clerical government had become insurmountable. “Covering up the mistake of downing the passenger jet with missiles was throwing acid at the image of the Islamic Republic,” he said on Twitter.

In a sign of the tensions between Iran’s clerical rulers and the elected officials, the government said Monday that it had disqualified 90 current lawmakers from running for re-election, Iranian official news media reported. The lawmakers, mostly members of reformist and centrist factions, account for roughly a third of the 290-member Parliament.

Several leading reformist politicians responded by calling for a boycott of the parliamentary election next month.

The over how the plane crash was handled also spread to the official news media on Monday, with several prominent state television and radio hosts quitting their jobs, saying they could no longer lie for the government.

Gelare Jabbari, the popular host of state TV’s Channel Two programs, changed her profile picture on Instagram to black and posted a public apology.

“It was very hard for me to believe the murdering of my countrymen,” she wrote. “Forgive me for believing it too late. I apologize for lying to you on TV for 13 years.”

The journalists’ union for the province of Tehran also issued a public apology for helping spread the government’s misinformation about the cause of the crash.

“We are currently holding a funeral service for public trust,” the statement said. “The first coffins are for state broadcast company and all media and websites.”

The union called on all Iranian journalists to no longer “amplify the cover-ups of officials” and to conduct their reporting with skepticism and independent investigations.

State television, however, continued to play down the mistaken downing of the plane, with one anchor saying “it was nothing compared to the main event” — the Iranian missile attack on American forces in Iraq hours earlier.

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transcript

Ukrainian Flight 752: How a Plane Came Down in 7 Minutes

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.

We first learned that it was a missile that took down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran because of this video showing the moment of impact. All 176 people on board were killed. To find out what happened to Flight 752 after it left Tehran airport on Jan. 8, we collected flight data, analyzed witness videos and images of the crash site, to paint the clearest picture yet of that disastrous seven-minute flight. We’ll walk you through the evidence, minute by minute, from the plane’s takeoff to the moment it crashed. It’s the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8. Iran has just launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani. Iranian defenses are on high alert, on guard for a possible U.S. attack. Four hours later, at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, Flight 752 operated by Ukraine International Airlines is getting ready for departure. At 6:12 a.m., the plane takes off. It follows its regular route, flies northwest and climbs to almost 8,000 feet in around three minutes, according to flight tracker data. Until now, the plane’s transponder has been signaling normally. But just before 6:15 a.m., it stops. We don’t yet know why. But we do know the plane keeps flying. And within 30 seconds, a missile hits it. A video filmed here captures the moment. Let’s watch it again and slow it down. Here’s the missile, and here’s the plane. Where did the missile come from? Just a few miles away are military sites equipped with Iranian defense systems. A nearby security camera films a missile being launched from one of those sites shortly after 6:15 a.m. The missile hits the plane seconds later. An Iranian military commander said a defense system operator mistook the passenger jet for a cruise missile. The missile sets the plane on fire. But the jet continues flying for several minutes. We don’t know its precise path after 6:15 a.m. But we do know that it turns back in the direction of the airport, engulfed by flames. Around 6:19 a.m., a bystander films the plane slowly going down. There appears to be a second explosion before the jetliner plummets outside Tehran about 10 miles from where the last signal was sent. Footage from a security camera shows the scene as the plane crashes toward it. Here we see the immediate aftermath of the crash. As day breaks, another witness films the smoldering wreckage. Debris is spread out over 1,500 feet along a small park, orchards and a soccer field, narrowly missing a nearby village. A large section of the plane looks badly charred. More jet parts are found here. And the plane’s tail and wheels land over 500 feet away. It is a gruesome scene. The passengers’ personal items — toys, clothes, photo albums — are scattered around. After days of denials, Iran took responsibility for the crash, blaming human error at a moment of heightened tensions.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166953561_06e1cc97-db54-4a54-a482-c464887a1919-videoSixteenByNine3000 Protests in Iran: Rage Over Downed Jet, as Lawmakers Demand Accountability Zelensky, Volodymyr Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Ukraine International Airlines Ukraine Trump, Donald J Tehran (Iran) Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.CreditCredit…Akbar Tavakoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Iranian attack, which caused moderate damage but killed no one, was conducted in retaliation for the American killing of Iran’s top military leader in a drone attack on Jan. 3.

Just hours later, a Ukraine International Airlines flight was taking off from Tehran before dawn on Wednesday, and Iranian forces were on high alert for an American counterattack. An Iranian crew, confusing the jet for an attacking craft, fired an antiaircraft missile at it about three minutes after it took off.

On Monday, the government closed the popular reformist news website Entekhab for publishing false rumors over the weekend that Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of National Security Council, had resigned.

Videos from inside Iran shared on social media on Monday showed university students in Isfahan and the capital, Tehran, chanting against the country’s clerical rulers while riot police officers were deployed nearby.

Thousands of students gathered at Iran’s elite technical university, Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, 14 of whose recent graduates died when the plane was shot down. Some lashed out our Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“We want transparency,” said one student, addressing the crowd. “This country has not had transparency for years. You have lied to us. the state broadcast company has lied to us. You think we are all stupid. The supreme leader must answer to us about the country’s problems. Mr. Khamenei, why are you lying?”

The crowd cheered.

A group of over 30 artists, filmmakers and actors issued a joint statement on Monday saying they would not participate in the government-sponsored Fajr competition, Iran’s equivalent of the Oscars.

One of the signatories, the well-known filmmaker Rakhshan Bani Etemad, was briefly detained and interrogated for several hours after she called for a nationwide vigil for the victims of the crash.

There were no reports of violence in the protests on Monday, as there had been over the weekend, when there were videos of protesters carrying off bleeding comrades as gunshots echoed in the background.

The authorities in Iran denied that security forces had opened fire.

Late Sunday, Mr. Trump warned Iran not to target the demonstrators. Framing himself as a supporter of the media, which in other circumstances he has frequently disparaged, Mr. Trump exhorted Iran’s leaders to allow unfettered reporting.

“To the leaders of Iran — DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS,” he wrote on Twitter. “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!”

In addition to the domestic outrage, Iran may also face demands for compensation from nations whose citizens were killed on the plane, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko of Ukraine told Reuters on Monday in an interview in Singapore.

Foreign ministers from five nations will meet in London on Thursday to discuss legal action, he said. The participants will include Canada, which lost 57 citizens, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Sweden and another country he did not identify.

Mr. Prystaiko said Tehran had agreed to hand over the jet’s black boxes for analysis, but had yet to set a date to do so.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared since 2018, when Mr. Trump pulled the United States out of an international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program and imposed the first in a series of sanctions on Iran to punish it for what his administration sees as its destabilizing activities across the Middle East.

After a number of attacks on United States assets and allies in the Middle East in recent months, Mr. Trump ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds force. He headed Iran’s efforts to direct allied militias in the region.

Those militias include an Iraqi group that the United States accused of firing rockets at a military base in Iraq late last month, killing one American contractor. United States forces retaliated against militia bases, killing more than two dozen fighters, and militias responded by surrounding the American Embassy compound in Baghdad, breaching its perimeter wall, setting fires and throwing rocks.

The killing of General Suleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport raised fears that Iran or its network of allies across the Middle East would respond against the United States and its allies, possibly igniting a regional war.

Anton Troianovski contributed reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Protests Over Downed Jet Rage in Iran, as Other Nations Seek Redress

Westlake Legal Group 13iran-facebookJumbo-v3 Protests Over Downed Jet Rage in Iran, as Other Nations Seek Redress Zelensky, Volodymyr Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Ukraine International Airlines Ukraine Trump, Donald J Tehran (Iran) Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Protesters and riot police faced off in at least two cities in Iran on Monday, a third day of angry demonstrations at the country’s leaders after the government acknowledged having shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176 people.

The protests are the most recent spillover from escalating regional tensions between the United States and Iran that built up to President Trump’s decision to kill a high-ranking Iranian general, and Iran’s firing missiles at United States forces in Iraq in response.

After days of denials, Iran acknowledged early on Saturday that it had shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight on Wednesday, blaming the attack on human error. But the government’s obfuscation has angered many Iranians, already squeezed by poor economic conditions exacerbated by United States sanctions, and some took to the streets soon after.

Videos from inside Iran shared on social media on Monday showed university students in Isfahan and the capital, Tehran, chanting against the country’s clerical rulers while riot police deployed nearby.

The extent of the protests and the amount of violence used to try to stop them were hard to assess because of tight restrictions on social media and the news media inside the country. Videos from previous days have shown protesters carrying off bleeding comrades while gunshots echoed in the background.

The authorities in Iran denied that security forces had opened fire.

“At protests, police absolutely did not shoot because the capital’s police officers have been given orders to show restraint,” Hossein Rahimi, the head of Tehran’s police, said on Monday, according to state-run news media.

Late Sunday, Mr. Trump warned Iran not to target the demonstrators. Framing himself as a supporter of the media, which in other circumstances he has frequently disparaged, Mr. Trump exhorted Iran’s leaders to allow unfettered reporting.

“To the leaders of Iran — DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS,” he wrote on Twitter. “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!”

The Ukrainian plane took off from Tehran on a flight to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, before dawn on Wednesday, and barely two minutes later it was struck by an anti-aircraft missile fired by an Iranian crew. Iranian forces had fired missiles at American forces in Iraq hours earlier, and were on the alert for retaliation by the United States.

In addition to the domestic outrage, Iran may also face demands for compensation from nations whose citizens were killed on the plane, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko of Ukraine told Reuters on Monday in an interview in Singapore.

“We have created this group of foreign ministers from the grieving nations. On Jan. 16, we will meet in person in London to discuss the ways, including legal, how we are following this up, how we are prosecuting them,” Mr. Prystaiko said, referring to the Iranians.

The talks would include five nations, he said: Canada, which lost 57 citizens, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Sweden and another country he did not identify.

They and other nations have pushed for greater international involvement in the investigation of how the crash happened, and Mr. Prystaiko said Tehran had agreed to hand over the jet’s black boxes for analysis, but had yet to set a date to do so.

Mr. Prystaiko separately told the BBC in an interview broadcast Monday that President Hassan Rouhani of Iran had accepted full responsibility for the crash, without trying to shift the blame onto the United States for escalating overall tensions in the region.

“At least at the presidential level, nothing of this nonsense was mentioned,” Mr. Prystaiko said, describing Mr. Rouhani’s phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Saturday. “He tried to do his best to explain that it was human error, that no one who is to be punished will escape the punishment.”

Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared since 2018, when Mr. Trump pulled the United States out of an international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program and imposed the first in a series of sanctions on Iran to punish it for what his administration sees as its destabilizing activities across the Middle East.

After a number of attacks on United States assets and allies in the Middle East in recent months, Mr. Trump ordered the killing on Jan. 3 of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds force. He headed Iran’s efforts to support and direct allied militias in the region.

Those militias include an Iraqi group that fired rockets at a military base in Iraq late last month, killing one American contractor. United States forces retaliated against militia bases, killing more than two dozen fighters, and militias responded by surrounding the American Embassy compound in Baghdad, breaching its perimeter wall, setting fires and throwing rocks.

The killing of General Suleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport raised fears that Iran or its network of allies across the Middle East would respond against the United States and its allies, possibly igniting a regional war.

On Wednesday, Iran responded by firing a barrage of missiles at two military bases in Iraq that host United States forces, inflicting some damage but killing no one. The Ukrainian jet crashed after being struck in the air by an Iranian missile a few hours later.

Anton Troianovski contributed reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jet Crash in Iran Has Eerie Historical Parallel

Westlake Legal Group 11xp-flight655-2-facebookJumbo Jet Crash in Iran Has Eerie Historical Parallel United States Navy United States Defense and Military Forces Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Rouhani, Hassan Iran Air Iran Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The timing of the jet crash near Tehran on Wednesday — coming just hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing American troops — immediately led to suspicion that the plane had been downed by a missile.

Those suspicions were confirmed on Saturday, when Iranian officials accepted responsibility for the downing of the jet, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukraine International Airlines, saying it was an accident caused by human error. The 176 victims included many young Iranians, as well as Canadians, Afghans and Europeans from several countries.

Many observers couldn’t help thinking of a strikingly similar plane crash in Iranian territory amid hostilities, more than 30 years ago, in the waning days of the Iran-Iraq war.

On July 3, 1988, as American and Iranian forces battled in the Persian Gulf, the United States Navy accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger jet, Iran Air Flight 655, which was bound for Dubai. Iranian outlets reported that 290 people were aboard the plane, including 66 children. There were no survivors.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran referred to that tragedy on Monday as he responded to a threat from President Trump to attack cultural sites.

Last Saturday, Mr. Trump said on Twitter that his office had made a list of 52 Iranian sites — representing the 52 hostages taken by Iran in 1979 — that would be “HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD” in the event of an Iranian attack.

In response, Mr. Rouhani wrote, “Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290.”

Iran Air Flight 655, which Mr. Rouhani invoked with the hashtag #IR655, had set out for Dubai from the port city of Bandar Abbas, on the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf. At the same time on that July morning, the Vincennes, an American missile cruiser, was engaged in combat with Iranian boats in the gulf.

The Navy said later that it mistook the passenger plane, an Airbus A300, for a hostile F-14 fighter jet. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., said that the Iranian plane was flying at low altitude and failed to respond to warnings or transmit radar signals identifying it as a civilian plane. The plane was brought down with a surface-to-air missile.

President Ronald Reagan issued a statement from Camp David, saying the United States regretted the loss of life but defending the judgment of the skipper, Capt. Will C. Rogers III. A subsequent Defense Department investigation also supported his actions, though it noted he was given inaccurate information as the plane approached. The investigators also faulted Iran for allowing the plane to fly into an active conflict zone.

In a strange twist, the following March, Captain Rogers’s wife, Sharon Lee Rogers, was driving near a shopping center in San Diego when what was believed to be a pipe bomb exploded in her car. She escaped uninjured. Investigators initially believed it was an act of terrorism related to Captain Rogers’s role in the deaths, but later “all but ruled out” the possibility, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Captain Rogers was later awarded the Legion of Merit for his service in the Persian Gulf; an accompanying citation praised the captain’s “dynamic leadership” and “logical judgment.”

A December 1988 report by an international panel of aviation experts faulted the Navy for failing to put in place procedures to keep civilian aircraft away from combat zones. The United States later paid millions to settle a lawsuit that Iran filed over the matter at the International Court of Justice.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jet Crash in Iran Has Eerie Historical Parallel

Westlake Legal Group 11xp-flight655-2-facebookJumbo Jet Crash in Iran Has Eerie Historical Parallel United States Navy United States Defense and Military Forces Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Rouhani, Hassan Iran Air Iran Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The timing of the jet crash near Tehran on Wednesday — coming just hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing American troops — immediately led to suspicion that the plane had been downed by a missile.

Those suspicions were confirmed on Saturday, when Iranian officials accepted responsibility for the downing of the jet, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukraine International Airlines, saying it was an accident caused by human error. The 176 victims included many young Iranians, as well as Canadians, Afghans and Europeans from several countries.

Many observers couldn’t help thinking of a strikingly similar plane crash in Iranian territory amid hostilities, more than 30 years ago, in the waning days of the Iran-Iraq war.

On July 3, 1988, as American and Iranian forces battled in the Persian Gulf, the United States Navy accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger jet, Iran Air Flight 655, which was bound for Dubai. Iranian outlets reported that 290 people were aboard the plane, including 66 children. There were no survivors.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran referred to that tragedy on Monday as he responded to a threat from President Trump to attack cultural sites.

Last Saturday, Mr. Trump said on Twitter that his office had made a list of 52 Iranian sites — representing the 52 hostages taken by Iran in 1979 — that would be “HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD” in the event of an Iranian attack.

In response, Mr. Rouhani wrote, “Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290.”

Iran Air Flight 655, which Mr. Rouhani invoked with the hashtag #IR655, had set out for Dubai from the port city of Bandar Abbas, on the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf. At the same time on that July morning, the Vincennes, an American missile cruiser, was engaged in combat with Iranian boats in the gulf.

The Navy said later that it mistook the passenger plane, an Airbus A300, for a hostile F-14 fighter jet. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., said that the Iranian plane was flying at low altitude and failed to respond to warnings or transmit radar signals identifying it as a civilian plane. The plane was brought down with a surface-to-air missile.

President Ronald Reagan issued a statement from Camp David, saying the United States regretted the loss of life but defending the judgment of the skipper, Capt. Will C. Rogers III. A subsequent Defense Department investigation also supported his actions, though it noted he was given inaccurate information as the plane approached. The investigators also faulted Iran for allowing the plane to fly into an active conflict zone.

In a strange twist, the following March, Captain Rogers’s wife, Sharon Lee Rogers, was driving near a shopping center in San Diego when what was believed to be a pipe bomb exploded in her car. She escaped uninjured. Investigators initially believed it was an act of terrorism related to Captain Rogers’s role in the deaths, but later “all but ruled out” the possibility, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Captain Rogers was later awarded the Legion of Merit for his service in the Persian Gulf; an accompanying citation praised the captain’s “dynamic leadership” and “logical judgment.”

A December 1988 report by an international panel of aviation experts faulted the Navy for failing to put in place procedures to keep civilian aircraft away from combat zones. The United States later paid millions to settle a lawsuit that Iran filed over the matter at the International Court of Justice.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Furor in Iran and Abroad After Tehran Admits Downing Ukrainian Jetliner

KYIV, Ukraine — Iran’s stunning admission that its forces errantly downed a Ukrainian jetliner — reversing three days of denial — did little to quell growing fury inside the country and beyond on Saturday as the deadly tragedy turned into a volatile political crisis for Tehran’s leaders and overshadowed their struggle with the United States.

Ukrainian officials criticized Iran’s conduct, suggesting that the Iranians would not have admitted responsibility if investigators from Ukraine had not found evidence of a missile strike in the wreckage of the crash, which killed all 176 people aboard.

Protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities as dumbfounded citizens found a new reason to mistrust Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and other officials. Protest videos even showed some shouting “Khamenei is a murderer!” and anti-riot police tear-gassing violent demonstrators.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in his first reaction to Iran’s announcement, said his country would “insist on a full admission of guilt” by Tehran.

Contradictions and miscues complicated Iran’s message even as it took responsibility for the disaster. Iran’s military, in its initial admission early Saturday, said the flight’s crew had taken a sharp, unexpected turn that brought it near a sensitive military base — an assertion that was immediately disputed by the Ukrainians.

Hours later, an Iranian commander who accepted full responsibility for the disaster agreed that the Ukrainians were right.

“The plane was flying in its normal direction without any error and everybody was doing their job correctly,” said the commander, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who leads the airspace unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — a powerful, hard-line military force. “If there was a mistake, it was made by one of our members.”

Video

Westlake Legal Group xxivid-iran-plane-2-square640 Furor in Iran and Abroad After Tehran Admits Downing Ukrainian Jetliner Zarif, Mohammad Javad United States International Relations Rouhani, Hassan Politics and Government Missiles and Missile Defense Systems Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Deaths (Fatalities) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters Airlines and Airplanes

The New York Times has obtained and verified video showing the moment a Ukrainian airliner was hit in Iran.CreditCredit…Screenshot from video

The Ukrainians further accused Iran of having recklessly permitted commercial flights during a security emergency and of having violated universally accepted procedures for a post-crash investigation. Bulldozers had heaped debris from the plane into piles on the ground.

“Everything was done absolutely inappropriately,” Oleksiy Danilov, the Ukrainian security official overseeing the crash inquiry, said in an interview with The New York Times, referring to how Iranian authorities had handled the site of the crash.

Within Iran, citizens vented anger toward their government in the first hours after the admission and President Hassan Rouhani called the error an “unforgivable mistake.” General Hajizadeh, whose forces were responsible, said he had wished death upon himself because of the blunder.

“Death to liars!” and “Death to the dictator!” shouted Iranians gathered in squares in the capital Tehran, videos shared on social media showed. “You have no shame!” shouted several young men, and the crowd joined in a chorus.

Iranians who only a few days earlier were united in outraged grief over the American killing of a storied Revolutionary Guards leader, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, were now once again out en masse protesting their government.

Many carried candles and placed flowers at the gates of the universities and other public places in Tehran. Conservatives and supporters of the government accused the authorities of having intentionally misled the public initially about what had brought down the plane. Its passengers included many young Iranians on their way to Canada for graduate study.

The criticism of Iran over the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737-800, now threatens to eclipse whatever international sympathy Iran has garnered in its escalating confrontation with the Trump administration, which has faced widespread criticism over stoking a violent confrontation with Iran’s leaders.

The plane went down in fiery destruction just a few minutes after having departed Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport Wednesday morning, only hours after Iranian military forces had fired a barrage of missiles at bases in Iraq housing American troops in retaliation for the killing of General Suleimani by a United States military drone in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

Iran’s aerial defense forces, worried about possible American reprisals for the missile attack, were on alert — even though commercial aviation in Iran was allowed to proceed normally.

For three days after the crash, Iranian officials not only denied their military forces were responsible but blamed what they called the aircraft’s mechanical problems and said suggestions of Iranian culpability were American propaganda. Satellite surveillance and video clips of the plane strongly suggested Iran’s own air defense missile system blasted the plane out of the sky.

The Iranians reversed themselves early Saturday.

The newly critical language by Ukrainian officials in the aftermath of Iran’s admission stood in sharp contrast to more cautious statements in recent days. It partly reflected the frustrations in a country that had been thrust in the middle of the conflict between the United States and Iran.

The Trump administration made no immediate comment on Iran’s admission of responsibility.

Mr. Danilov, the Ukrainian security official, said Iran had been forced into conceding its military had brought down the jet because the evidence of a missile strike had become overwhelmingly clear to international investigators.

He said Ukrainian experts on the ground in Iran had gathered such evidence since their arrival on Thursday despite apparent Iranian efforts to complicate the investigation, including by sweeping debris into piles rather than carefully documenting it.

“When a catastrophe happens, everything is supposed to stay in its place,” he said. “Every element is described, every element is photographed, every element is fixed in terms of its location and coordinates. To our great regret, this was not done.”

Mr. Zelensky’s office posted on Facebook photos of plane wreckage and a Canadian man’s passport showing small piercings — consistent with the hypothesis that shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile hit the plane.

“We expect Iran to assure its readiness for a full and open investigation, to bring those responsible to justice, to return the bodies of the victims, to pay compensation, and to make official apologies through diplomatic channels,” Mr. Zelensky said in a post on his Facebook page. “We hope that the investigation will continue without artificial delays and obstacles.”

The official reaction from Iran was a mix of contrition and suggestions that the tragedy should be viewed as a consequence of American hostility.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wrote that “Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster.”

Mr. Rouhani, in a statement cited by the Fars News Agency, offered condolences to the victims’ families and said that “the terrible catastrophe should be thoroughly investigated.”

The Iranian expressions of remorse were met with frustration by Ukrainian aviation officials who had been struggling since the crash to get meaningful information from Iran about what had actually happened.

“Even in the statement of Iran there is a hint that our crew was acting independently, or that it could have acted differently,” said the airline director, Yevhenii Dykhne.

The crew received no warning before leaving Tehran, the Ukrainian officials said. The plane took off as Ukrainian flights from Iran had dozens of times before, and followed the same departure routes as other airliners leaving that morning, Ihor Sosnovsky, the vice president for flight operations, told journalists.

“There was no deviation from any routes that some are hinting at,” he said.

The crew maintained normal radio contact with the tower in Tehran, he said, and followed a standard departure procedure for the airport. After having reached an elevation of 6,000 feet, they were instructed to make a slight northerly turn. In the last communication, he said, one of the pilots read back this instruction from the tower, saying “turn and climb.”

Addressing criticism that the airline should not have sent a plane to Iran at all, in light of tensions in the region, the airline officials said it was Iran’s responsibility to close airspace if it had intended to fire missiles.

Mr. Danilov said Iran had no choice but to admit to shooting down the plane because the facts had become apparent to Ukrainian experts on the ground and to the international community.

The “cherry on top” in Ukraine’s probe, he said, came on Friday evening Iran time, when Ukrainian investigators found fragments of the top part of the airplane cabin that had been pierced by what appeared to be the shrapnel of a missile warhead.

“As we saw it, Iran had to face the reality that there’s no way they’ll get out of this,” Mr. Danilov said.

In the hours immediately after the crash, Mr. Danilov said, Iran was resistant to letting Ukraine conduct its own investigation. He said the possibility that international aviation authorities might shut down passenger flights to Tehran also placed enormous pressure on Iran.

“They said: ‘Sorry, this was a technical error, either due to the pilots or the technical condition of the airplane.’ We said: ‘Let us have a look.’ They said: ‘We won’t let you,’” Mr. Danilov said. “It took rather concerted efforts of our diplomats and our consul working there in order to make sure everything went well for our specialists.”

Mr. Zelensky spoke by phone to President Emmanuel Macron of France, and both agreed that French specialists would help decode the plane’s black box flight recorders.

Mr. Hajizadeh, the Iranian official who accepted responsibility for the missile strike, said the plane had been misidentified as a cruise missile and was shot down with a short-range missile that exploded near the plane.

He said the Iranian missile operator had acted independently because of “jamming.” Asked during his address why Iranian airspace was not shut to commercial air traffic amid the attacks, Mr. Hajizadeh had no clear answer.

“I wish I was dead,” Mr. Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by local news outlets. “I accept all responsibility for this incident.”

Anton Troianovski reported from Kyiv, Ukraine, Andrew E. Kramer from Moscow, and Farnaz Fassihi from New York. Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen from Edmonton, Alberta; James Glanz, Malachy Browne and Christiaan Triebert from New York; Ivan Nechepurenko from Moscow and Lara Jakes from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iranians Close Ranks Behind Leaders After U.S. Kills Popular General

Westlake Legal Group 04iran-suleimani5-facebookJumbo Iranians Close Ranks Behind Leaders After U.S. Kills Popular General United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Quds Force Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Baghdad (Iraq)

In cities across Iran, tens of thousands packed the streets to mourn Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. Black-clad women and men beat their chests and clutched photos of him. A black flag went up on the golden dome of Imam Reza shrine in the city of Mashhad, one of the holiest sites of Shiite Islam.

Just a few weeks earlier, the streets were filled with protesters angry with their leaders over the flailing economy and the country’s international isolation.

But at least for now, Iran is united — in anger at the United States.

For years, it has been a divided nation led by aged revolutionaries determined to impose their will on a predominantly young population with no memory of the Shah, who was deposed in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and with a thirst to live in a more normal nation integrated into the world.

Suddenly, with one targeted assassination, the nation rallied behind its leaders.

Young and old. Rich and poor. Hard-liner and reformer, General Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful military leader, was almost universally admired and had near cult figure status. After being killed in Baghdad on Friday in a drone strike ordered by President Trump, his image is now plastered across Tehran, shrouded in black drapes.

“Without doubt, the people of Iran will take revenge for this horrific criminal act,” tweeted the president, Hassan Rouhani, a leader who once advocated diplomacy and integration with the West.

In Iraq on Saturday, tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through the capital, Baghdad, vowing to exact revenge on the United States at a funeral procession for two revered Iraqi military figures who were also killed in the attack on General Suleimani.

And back in Iran, politicians and ordinary people of all stripes voiced support for the vow by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that “severe revenge awaits those criminals” who killed the general.

The assassination appears to have solidified the hard-liners’ grip on power, neutralizing at least for the moment those who had called for talks with the West, experts inside and outside of Iran said.

Iran’s relative moderates like Mr. Rouhani have been on the defensive since Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed an array of sanctions, contributing to Iran’s sharp economic decline.

That reversal bolstered hard-line critics who said it discredited those who had accepted American assurances. Moderates had nurtured fading hopes of renewed talks with Washington — possibly between the two presidents.

Any talk of outreach or liberalization seems more dangerous than it has in years and is likely to fade from public debate for the time being. The prospect of negotiations with the United States, tweeted Sara Masoumi, a prominent reformist journalist, is now “below zero.”

“At least in the short term, this will create a rally to the flag; Suleimani was personally popular,” said Vali R. Nasr, a Middle East scholar and former dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He predicted “an outpouring of emotion,” both organic and whipped up by the government.

Iran is bestowing honors on Mr. Suleimani as if he were a combination of statesman and saint. His body will circulate around shrines in all the holy cities of Shiite Islam from Samarra, Kadhimiya, Karbala and Najaf in Iraq to Mashhad and Qom in Iran.

As his body makes its way to four Iranian cities over the next few days, large crowds are expected to attend and display their solidarity and defiance. This show of unity, however, could be short-lived.

The deep grievances that ignited protests against the government in November still remain in place: economic hardship, international isolation and social oppression. Some Iranian opposition supporters have praised the assassination and are in favor of Washington increasing its maximum pressure policy on Iran’s rulers.

Just last month, mass anti-government protests shook Iran, showing deep discontent — which only grew with a brutal crackdown that killed as many as 1,000 people. Fury at the United States is now expected to deflect attention from the country’s economic suffering and the recent protests.

And the assassination may well provide Iran’s leaders with an excuse to intensify its repression of dissenters and critics.

General Suleimani’s killing “was the worst thing that could happen to civic movements in Iran and Iraq,” said Amir Rashidi, an Iranian cybersecurity expert based in New York.

“It means more pressure on people who are already being squeezed politically and economically.”

In just a few days, the conflict between the United States and Iran has escalated dramatically. A rocket attack on a military base in Iraq killed an American on Friday; the United States blamed it on an Iran-backed militia and carried out airstrikes Sunday that killed some two dozen militia fighters. On Tuesday, militias swarmed the American embassy compound in Baghdad, breached the outer wall and set fire to some structures.

General Suleimani led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which conducts Iran’s foreign military operations. He commanded Iranian forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He also headed Iran’s role in arming, training and directing anti-ISIS Shiite militias; the American attack that killed him also killed the powerful leader of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

In addition, the general directed Iran’s involvement with forces like the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and others that are in conflict with the United States and its regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The United States had labeled him a terrorist since 2007 and imposed economic sanctions on him.

But in Iran, the government built up his public image as the person keeping the country safe. He went from a commander in the shadows to a household name, regularly seen in news videos directing troops in battle, meeting with allied leaders and reciting poetry about martyrdom.

“Qassim Suleimani has been seen as the public face of Iran’s regional policy,” said Sanam Vakil, a senior research fellow and leader of the Iran Forum at Chatham House, an international affairs institute based in London. “Since the fight against ISIS, you’ve seen this surge of support for him.”

Iranians who are usually outspoken in support of human rights have turned to national solidarity and sorrow at his death.

“How soon we forget how close ISIS was to us and who defeated this monster,” the actress Bahareh Rahnama posted on her Instagram account. One of Iran’s biggest celebrities, she is well known for her support of women’s rights.

General Suleimani was broadly thought of as a conservative, but he took care not to align himself with any political faction in Iran or take sides in domestic disputes, allowing him to be seen as above politics.

“He’s someone who had a depth and breadth of relationships within the Iranian system that allowed him to work with all key players,” Ms. Tabatabai said. She cited his close working relationship with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is seen as a moderate.

“Every major political actor within Iran, from reformist to hard-liner, is saying this is a great loss,” she said.

Iran announced a three-day funeral procession for General Suleimani which began on Saturday in Baghdad and then moves to other cities in Iraq. The procession will continue in Mashhad, Iran on Sunday and Tehran on Monday, where Ayatollah Khamenei will pray over the general’s body at Tehran University.

Then on Tuesday it will go to his hometown, Kerman, for burial. Iranian media reported that he left a will asking for a simple burial there.

An enormous turnout is expected, and leaders of militant groups from across the region are expected to attend the services, several people with knowledge of the planning said.

“Many Iranians, whether they like the regime or not, did consider Suleimani as a sort of national symbol,” said Raz Zimmt, an Iran specialist at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and they see his assassination “as something that hurts national pride. ”Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, a prominent Iranian author who has spoken out for artistic freedom, wrote that “Iran once again lost one of its most honorable children.”

Since Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran has revived its nuclear program in stages, amid escalating conflicts with the United States. The European signers of the agreement promised to find a way to offset the effects of the sanctions, but so far have failed. Hints at renewed negotiations with Washington have gone nowhere.

“The moderates were already on life support” before the killing of General Suleimani, Mr. Nasr said, and Iran will hold legislative elections next month. “I would guess the hard-liners are going to do very well. This kind of pressure on Iran, just like in any country, plays into the hands of the security forces.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iranians Close Ranks Behind Leaders After U.S. Kills Popular General

Westlake Legal Group 04iran-suleimani5-facebookJumbo Iranians Close Ranks Behind Leaders After U.S. Kills Popular General United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Quds Force Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Baghdad (Iraq)

In cities across Iran, tens of thousands packed the streets to mourn Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. Black-clad women and men beat their chests and clutched photos of him. A black flag went up on the golden dome of Imam Reza shrine in the city of Mashhad, one of the holiest sites of Shiite Islam.

Just a few weeks earlier, the streets were filled with protesters angry with their leaders over the flailing economy and the country’s international isolation.

But at least for now, Iran is united — in anger at the United States.

For years, it has been a divided nation led by aged revolutionaries determined to impose their will on a predominantly young population with no memory of the Shah, who was deposed in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and with a thirst to live in a more normal nation integrated into the world.

Suddenly, with one targeted assassination, the nation rallied behind its leaders.

Young and old. Rich and poor. Hard-liner and reformer, General Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful military leader, was almost universally admired and had near cult figure status. After being killed in Baghdad on Friday in a drone strike ordered by President Trump, his image is now plastered across Tehran, shrouded in black drapes.

“Without doubt, the people of Iran will take revenge for this horrific criminal act,” tweeted the president, Hassan Rouhani, a leader who once advocated diplomacy and integration with the West.

In Iraq on Saturday, tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters marched through the capital, Baghdad, vowing to exact revenge on the United States at a funeral procession for two revered Iraqi military figures who were also killed in the attack on General Suleimani.

And back in Iran, politicians and ordinary people of all stripes voiced support for the vow by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that “severe revenge awaits those criminals” who killed the general.

The assassination appears to have solidified the hard-liners’ grip on power, neutralizing at least for the moment those who had called for talks with the West, experts inside and outside of Iran said.

Iran’s relative moderates like Mr. Rouhani have been on the defensive since Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed an array of sanctions, contributing to Iran’s sharp economic decline.

That reversal bolstered hard-line critics who said it discredited those who had accepted American assurances. Moderates had nurtured fading hopes of renewed talks with Washington — possibly between the two presidents.

Any talk of outreach or liberalization seems more dangerous than it has in years and is likely to fade from public debate for the time being. The prospect of negotiations with the United States, tweeted Sara Masoumi, a prominent reformist journalist, is now “below zero.”

“At least in the short term, this will create a rally to the flag; Suleimani was personally popular,” said Vali R. Nasr, a Middle East scholar and former dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He predicted “an outpouring of emotion,” both organic and whipped up by the government.

Iran is bestowing honors on Mr. Suleimani as if he were a combination of statesman and saint. His body will circulate around shrines in all the holy cities of Shiite Islam from Samarra, Kadhimiya, Karbala and Najaf in Iraq to Mashhad and Qom in Iran.

As his body makes its way to four Iranian cities over the next few days, large crowds are expected to attend and display their solidarity and defiance. This show of unity, however, could be short-lived.

The deep grievances that ignited protests against the government in November still remain in place: economic hardship, international isolation and social oppression. Some Iranian opposition supporters have praised the assassination and are in favor of Washington increasing its maximum pressure policy on Iran’s rulers.

Just last month, mass anti-government protests shook Iran, showing deep discontent — which only grew with a brutal crackdown that killed as many as 1,000 people. Fury at the United States is now expected to deflect attention from the country’s economic suffering and the recent protests.

And the assassination may well provide Iran’s leaders with an excuse to intensify its repression of dissenters and critics.

General Suleimani’s killing “was the worst thing that could happen to civic movements in Iran and Iraq,” said Amir Rashidi, an Iranian cybersecurity expert based in New York.

“It means more pressure on people who are already being squeezed politically and economically.”

In just a few days, the conflict between the United States and Iran has escalated dramatically. A rocket attack on a military base in Iraq killed an American on Friday; the United States blamed it on an Iran-backed militia and carried out airstrikes Sunday that killed some two dozen militia fighters. On Tuesday, militias swarmed the American embassy compound in Baghdad, breached the outer wall and set fire to some structures.

General Suleimani led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which conducts Iran’s foreign military operations. He commanded Iranian forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He also headed Iran’s role in arming, training and directing anti-ISIS Shiite militias; the American attack that killed him also killed the powerful leader of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

In addition, the general directed Iran’s involvement with forces like the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and others that are in conflict with the United States and its regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The United States had labeled him a terrorist since 2007 and imposed economic sanctions on him.

But in Iran, the government built up his public image as the person keeping the country safe. He went from a commander in the shadows to a household name, regularly seen in news videos directing troops in battle, meeting with allied leaders and reciting poetry about martyrdom.

“Qassim Suleimani has been seen as the public face of Iran’s regional policy,” said Sanam Vakil, a senior research fellow and leader of the Iran Forum at Chatham House, an international affairs institute based in London. “Since the fight against ISIS, you’ve seen this surge of support for him.”

Iranians who are usually outspoken in support of human rights have turned to national solidarity and sorrow at his death.

“How soon we forget how close ISIS was to us and who defeated this monster,” the actress Bahareh Rahnama posted on her Instagram account. One of Iran’s biggest celebrities, she is well known for her support of women’s rights.

General Suleimani was broadly thought of as a conservative, but he took care not to align himself with any political faction in Iran or take sides in domestic disputes, allowing him to be seen as above politics.

“He’s someone who had a depth and breadth of relationships within the Iranian system that allowed him to work with all key players,” Ms. Tabatabai said. She cited his close working relationship with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is seen as a moderate.

“Every major political actor within Iran, from reformist to hard-liner, is saying this is a great loss,” she said.

Iran announced a three-day funeral procession for General Suleimani which began on Saturday in Baghdad and then moves to other cities in Iraq. The procession will continue in Mashhad, Iran on Sunday and Tehran on Monday, where Ayatollah Khamenei will pray over the general’s body at Tehran University. Then it will go to his hometown, Kerman, for burial on Tuesday.

An enormous turnout is expected, and leaders of militant groups from across the region are expected to attend the services, several people with knowledge of the planning said.

“Many Iranians, whether they like the regime or not, did consider Suleimani as a sort of national symbol,” said Raz Zimmt, an Iran specialist at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and they see his assassination “as something that hurts national pride. ”Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, a prominent Iranian author who has spoken out for artistic freedom, wrote that “Iran once again lost one of its most honorable children.”

Since Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran has revived its nuclear program in stages, amid escalating conflicts with the United States. The European signers of the agreement promised to find a way to offset the effects of the sanctions, but so far have failed. Hints at renewed negotiations with Washington have gone nowhere.

“The moderates were already on life support” before the killing of General Suleimani, Mr. Nasr said, and Iran will hold legislative elections next month. “I would guess the hard-liners are going to do very well. This kind of pressure on Iran, just like in any country, plays into the hands of the security forces.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Bet He Could Isolate Iran and Charm North Korea. It’s Not That Easy.

Westlake Legal Group 01dc-ASSESS-2-facebookJumbo Trump Bet He Could Isolate Iran and Charm North Korea. It’s Not That Easy. United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Rouhani, Hassan Nuclear Weapons North Korea Kim Jong-un Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Arms Control and Limitation and Disarmament

President Trump entered the new year facing flare-ups of long-burning crises with two old adversaries — Iran and North Korea — which are directly challenging his claim to have reasserted American power around the world.

While the Iranian-backed attack on the United States Embassy in Baghdad seemed to be under control, it played to Mr. Trump’s longtime worry that American diplomats and troops in the Middle East are easy targets — and his longtime stance that the United States must pull back from the region.

In North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s declaration on Wednesday that the world would “witness a new strategic weapon” seemed to be the end of an 18-month experiment in which Mr. Trump believed his force of personality — and vague promises of economic development — would wipe away a problem that plagued the last twelve of his predecessors.

The timing of these new challenges is critical: Both the Iranians and the North Koreans seem to sense the vulnerability of a president under impeachment and facing re-election, even if they are often clumsy as they try to play those events to their advantage.

The protests in Iraq calmed on Wednesday, at least for now, and Mr. Kim has not yet lit off his latest “strategic weapon.” But the events of recent days have underscored how much bluster was behind Mr. Trump’s boast a year ago that Iran was “a very different nation” since he had broken its economy, and belied his famous tweet: “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

Today the most generous thing one could say about those statements is that they were wildly premature. Many foreign policy experts say he fundamentally misjudged the reactions of two major American adversaries. And neither seem to fear him — precisely the critique he leveled at Barack Obama back in the days when Mr. Trump declared America’s toughest national security challenges could be solved as soon as a president the world respected was in office.

The core problem may have been Mr. Trump’s conviction that economic incentives alone — choking off oil revenues in Tehran and the prospect of investment and glorious beach-front hotels in North Korea — would overcome all other national interests. He dismissed the depth of the Iran’s determination to re-establish itself as the most powerful force in the region, and Mr. Kim’s conviction that its nuclear arsenal is its only insurance policy to buoy one of the last family-controlled Stalinist regimes.

“After three years of no international crises,” Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote on Tuesday, Mr. Trump is “facing one with Iran because he has rejected diplomacy and another with North Korea because he has asked too much of diplomacy.”

“In neither case has Trump embraced traditional diplomacy, putting forward a partial or interim pact in which a degree of restraint would be met with a degree of sanctions relief.”

Mr. Trump does not engage with such arguments, simply repeating his mantra that Iran will never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons and that North Korea — which already has fuel for upward of 40, much of it produced on Mr. Trump’s watch — has committed to full denuclearization, even though that overstates Mr. Kim’s position.

His top national security officials, starting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, offer a somewhat more nuanced view, saying that over time Iran will realize it has no choice but to change its ways, and expressing optimism that “Chairman Kim will make the right decision and he’ll choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war.”

Increasingly, though, such lines sound like a hope, not a strategy. And that is Mr. Trump’s fundamental problem as he enters 2020: His diplomacy has not produced a comprehensive plan to gather the nation’s estranged allies into a concerted course of action.

The absence of a common approach is hurting the most in Iran. When Mr. Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal — declaring it a “terrible” piece of Obama-era diplomacy because it did not create permanent restraints on Iran’s ability to produce nuclear fuel — his aides sounded confident that the Europeans, China and Russia would follow suit. They did not.

Europe has flailed in its efforts to counteract American sanctions against Iran, but has insisted that the deal remains in place, even though both Washington and Tehran are violating key aspects of it. Russia and China have taken the next step: Last week they opened joint naval exercises with Iran in the Gulf of Oman. The exercises were not militarily significant, and the three nations have plenty of differences. But to the Iranians, they symbolized having two nuclear-armed superpowers on their side.

Vice Admiral Gholamreza Tahani, a deputy commander for the Iranian navy, was quoted in the Financial Times declaring that “The most important achievement of these drills” was the message “that the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot be isolated.”

It is possible the Trump administration’s strategy will still bear fruit: Mr. Pompeo was doing everything he could in recent weeks to express support for Iranians who were mounting protests inside their own country. But the history of past protests — most notably in 2009 — offer little hope that they can threaten the government. Hundreds of protesters appear to have been killed by internal security forces this time.

Meanwhile, the Iranians have a fine sense that “maximum pressure” campaigns work in both directions. They are vulnerable to cutoffs in oil flows. But the United States is vulnerable to highly public attacks on troops and tankers. And the attack on the outer walls of the American embassy in Baghdad, even if short-lived, was clearly designed to send a shiver down the spine of Mr. Trump’s political aides, who remember well that a hostage crisis led to President Jimmy Carter’s re-election defeat forty years ago.

Mounting a strike and pulling back is a familiar technique from Iran in recent months, including its attacks on oil tankers, an American drone and Saudi oil facilities.

The Iranians have made clear what Mr. Trump needs to do to reopen negotiations: Essentially, return to the deal struck with Mr. Obama, largely by lifting sanctions Mr. Trump imposed starting in May 2018. There are signs Mr. Trump is eager to resume talks, including his effort to lure President Hassan Rouhani to the phone when the Iranian leader was in New York in September for United Nations meetings.

That diplomatic initiative will doubtless continue in secret. But the Iranians have found new leverage: the ability to turn anti-Iran protests in Iraq into protests against American troops there, complete with Iran’s signature “Death to America” street chants.

Mr. Trump returned to a well-known stance on Tuesday, emphasizing that he did not want a war but also warning Iran that if it started one, any conflict “wouldn’t last very long.”

North Korea is a harder problem because there Mr. Trump had a diplomatic process underway, one that was both bold and imaginative. By breaking the mold and agreeing to meet the North Korean leader face to face, the first for an American president since the end of the Korean War, he had the makings of a breakthrough.

But he made key mistakes. He failed to get a nuclear freeze agreement from the North in return for the meeting, meaning that the country’s nuclear and missile production churned along while the two old adversaries returned to their old stances.

And Mr. Trump’s team, internally divided, could not back itself out of the corner the president initially put them with his vow for no serious sanctions relief until the arsenal was disbanded. Mr. Trump did cancel joint military exercises with South Korea — over Pentagon objections — but that was not enough for Mr. Kim.

But perhaps Mr. Trump’s biggest miscalculation was over-relying on the personal rapport he built with Mr. Kim, and overinterpreting the commitments he received from the young, wily North Korean leader.

That continues. On his way to a New Year’s party at his Mar-a-Lago club on Tuesday night, the president focused on their relationship, as if Mr. Kim’s declaration that he was no longer bound by any commitment to cease missile and nuclear testing didn’t exist. “He likes me, I like him, we get along,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s representing his country, I’m representing my country. We have to do what we have to do.”

Then he misrepresented the agreement in Singapore, describing it as if it were a real-estate deal. “But he did sign a contract,” he said of the vague declaration of principles reached in Singapore in June 2018. In fact, it was not a contract, it had no binding force, and it referred to the “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” That phrase means something very different in Pyongyang than it does in Washington: It means the North expects the United States to pull back its own nuclear-backed forces, including submarines and ships that can deliver such weapons to the peninsula.

So now Mr. Trump finds himself in roughly the same place his predecessors did: Awaiting a new missile test. It may be a solid-fuel, intercontinental missile, according to some experts like Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to show that the North has finally mastered a weapon that can be rolled out and launched with little warning. And it may carry some kind of payload to demonstrate that the country now knows how to make a warhead that can withstand re-entry into the atmosphere, a difficult technology.

But buried in Mr. Kim’s New Years statement was a suggestion of what he really had in mind: talks with the United States about the “scope and depth” of the North’s nuclear force. That means he really isn’t interested in denuclearization at all. He’s interested in arms-control talks, like the United States conducted for decades with the Soviet Union, and then Russia. And arms control, of course, would achieve what Mr. Kim, his father and his grandfather all sought: that insurance policy for the family.

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With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Is Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years

Westlake Legal Group XXIRAN-PROTESTS-01-facebookJumbo With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Is Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years Rouhani, Hassan Khamenei, Ali Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iran is experiencing its deadliest political unrest since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, with at least 180 people killed — and possibly hundreds more — as angry protests have been smothered in a government crackdown of unbridled force.

It began two weeks ago with an abrupt increase of at least 50 percent in gasoline prices. Within 72 hours, outraged demonstrators in cities large and small were calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s government and the downfall of its leaders.

In many places, security forces responded by opening fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men between the ages of 19 and 26, according to witness accounts and videos. In the southwest city of Mahshahr alone, witnesses and medical personnel said, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members surrounded, shot and killed 40 to 100 demonstrators — mostly unarmed young men — in a marsh where they had sought refuge.

“The recent use of lethal force against people throughout the country is unprecedented, even for the Islamic Republic and its record of violence,” said Omid Memarian, the deputy director at the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based group.

Altogether, from 180 to 450 people, and possibly more, were killed in four days of intense violence after the gasoline price increase was announced on Nov. 15, with at least 2,000 wounded and 7,000 detained, according to international rights organizations, opposition groups and local journalists.

The last enormous wave of protests in Iran — in 2009 after a contested election, which was also met with a deadly crackdown — left 72 people dead over a much longer period of about 10 months.

Only now, nearly two weeks after the protests were crushed — and largely obscured by an internet blackout in the country that was lifted recently — have details corroborating the scope of killings and destruction started to dribble out.

The latest outbursts not only revealed staggering levels of frustration with Iran’s leaders, but also underscored the serious economic and political challenges facing them, from the Trump administration’s onerous sanctions on the country to the growing resentment toward Iran by neighbors in an increasingly unstable Middle East.

The gas price increase, which was announced as most Iranians had gone to bed, came as Iran is struggling to fill a yawning budget gap. The Trump administration sanctions, mostly notably their tight restrictions on exports of Iran’s oil, are a big reason for the shortfall. The sanctions are meant to pressure Iran into renegotiating the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers, which President Trump abandoned, calling it too weak.

Most of the nationwide unrest seemed concentrated in neighborhoods and cities populated by low-income and working-class families, suggesting this was an uprising born in the historically loyal power base of Iran’s post-revolutionary hierarchy.

Many Iranians, stupefied and embittered, have directed their hostility directly at the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called the crackdown a justified response to a plot by Iran’s enemies at home and abroad.

The killings prompted a provocative warning from Mir Hussein Moussavi, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate whose 2009 election loss set off peaceful demonstrations that Ayatollah Khamenei also suppressed by force.

In a statement posted Saturday on an opposition website, Mr. Moussavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011 and seldom speaks publicly, blamed the supreme leader for the killings. He compared them to an infamous 1978 massacre by government forces that led to the downfall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi a year later, at the hands of the Islamic revolutionaries who now rule the country.

“The killers of the year 1978 were the representatives of a nonreligious regime and the agents and shooters of November 2019 are the representatives of a religious government,” he said. “Then the commander in chief was the shah and today, here, the supreme leader with absolute authority.”

The authorities have declined to specify casualties and arrests and have denounced unofficial figures on the national death toll as speculative. But the nation’s interior minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, has cited widespread unrest around the country.

On state media, he said that protests had erupted in 29 out of 31 provinces and 50 military bases had been attacked, which if true suggested a level of coordination absent in the earlier protests. Iran’s official media have reported that several members of the security forces were killed and injured during the clashes.

The property damage also included 731 banks, 140 public spaces, nine religious centers, 70 gasoline stations, 307 vehicles, 183 police cars, 1,076 motorcycles and 34 ambulances, the interior minister said.

The worst violence documented so far happened in the city of Mahshahr and its suburbs, with a population of 120,000 people in Iran’s southwest Khuzestan Province — a region with an ethnic Arab majority that has a long history of unrest and opposition to the central government. Mahshahr is adjacent to the nation’s largest industrial petrochemical complex and serves as a gateway to Bandar Imam, a major port.

The New York Times interviewed six residents of the city, including a protest leader who had witnessed the violence; a reporter based in the city who works for Iranian media, and had investigated the violence but was banned from reporting it; and a nurse at the hospital where casualties were treated.

They each provided similar accounts of how the Revolutionary Guards deployed a large force to Mahshahr on Monday, Nov. 18, to crush the protests. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by the Guards.

For three days, according to these residents, protesters had successfully gained control of most of Mahshahr and its suburbs, blocking the main road to the city and the adjacent industrial petrochemical complex. Iran’s interior minister confirmed that the protesters had gotten control over Mahshahr and its roads in a televised interview last week, but the Iranian government did not respond to specific questions in recent days about the mass killings in the city.

Local security forces and riot police officers had attempted to disperse the crowd and open the roads, but failed, residents said. Several clashes between protesters and security forces erupted between Saturday evening and Monday morning before the Guards were dispatched there.

When the Guards arrived near the entrance to a suburb, Shahrak Chamran, populated by low-income members of Iran’s ethnic Arab minority, they immediately shot without warning at dozens of men blocking the intersection, killing several on the spot, according to the residents interviewed by phone.

The residents said the other protesters scrambled to a nearby marsh, and that one of them, apparently armed with an AK-47, fired back. The Guards immediately encircled the men and responded with machine gun fire, killing as many as 100 people, the residents said.

The Guards piled the dead onto the back of a truck and departed, the residents said, and relatives of the wounded then transported them to Memko Hospital.

One of the residents, a 24-year-old unemployed college graduate in chemistry who had helped organize the protests blocking the roads, said he had been less than a mile away from the mass shooting and that his best friend, also 24, and a 32-year-old cousin were among the dead.

He said they both had been shot in the chest and their bodies were returned to the families five days later, only after they had signed paperwork promising not to hold funerals or memorial services and not to give interviews to media.

The young protest organizer said he, too, was shot in the ribs on Nov. 19, the day after the mass shooting, when the Guards stormed with tanks into his neighborhood, Shahrak Taleghani, among the poorest suburbs of Mahshahr.

He said a gun battle erupted for hours between the Guards and ethnic Arab residents, who traditionally keep guns for hunting at home. Iranian state media and witnesses reported that a senior Guards commander had been killed in a Mahshahr clash. Video on Twitter suggests tanks had been deployed there.

A 32-year-old nurse in Mahshahr reached by the phone said she had tended to the wounded at the hospital and that most had sustained gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

She described chaotic scenes at the hospital, with families rushing to bring in the casualties, including a 21-year-old who was to be married but could not be saved. “‘Give me back my son!,’” the nurse quoted his sobbing mother as saying. “‘It’s his wedding in two weeks!’”

The nurse said security forces stationed at the hospital arrested some of the wounded protesters after their conditions had stabilized. She said some relatives, fearing arrest themselves, dropped wounded loved ones at the hospital and fled, covering their faces.

On Nov. 25, a week after it happened, the city’s representative in Parliament, Mohamad Golmordai, vented outrage in a blunt moment of searing antigovernment criticism that was broadcast on Iranian state television and captured in photos and videos uploaded to the internet.

“What have you done that the undignified Shah did not do?” Mr. Golmordai screamed from the Parliament floor, as a scuffle broke out between him and other lawmakers, including one who grabbed him by the throat.

The local reporter in Mahshahr said the total number of people killed in three days of unrest in the area had reached 130, including those killed in the marsh.

In other cities such as Shiraz and Shahriar, dozens were reported killed in the unrest by security forces who fired on unarmed protesters, according to rights groups and videos posted by witnesses.

“This regime has pushed people toward violence,” said Yousef Alsarkhi, 29, a political activist from Khuzestan who migrated to the Netherlands four years ago. “The more they repress, the more aggressive and angry people get.”

Political analysts said the protests appeared to have delivered a severe blow to President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate in Iran’s political spectrum, all but guaranteeing that hard-liners would win upcoming parliamentary elections and the presidency in two years.

The tough response to the protests also appeared to signal a hardening rift between Iran’s leaders and sizable segments of the population of 83 million.

“The government’s response was uncompromising, brutal and rapid,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy in Washington. Still, he said, the protests also had “demonstrated that many Iranians are not afraid to take to the streets.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years

Westlake Legal Group XXIRAN-PROTESTS-01-facebookJumbo With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years Rouhani, Hassan Khamenei, Ali Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iran is experiencing its deadliest political unrest since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, with at least 180 people killed — and possibly hundreds more — as angry protests have been smothered in a government crackdown of unbridled force.

It began two weeks ago with an abrupt increase of at least 50 percent in gasoline prices. Within 72 hours, outraged demonstrators in cities large and small were calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s government and the downfall of its leaders.

In many places, security forces responded by opening fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men between the ages of 19 and 26, according to witness accounts and videos. In the southwest city of Mahshahr alone, witnesses and medical personnel said, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members surrounded, shot and killed 40 to 100 demonstrators — mostly unarmed young men — in a sugar cane field where they had sought refuge.

“The recent use of lethal force against people throughout the country is unprecedented, even for the Islamic Republic and its record of violence,” said Omid Memarian, the deputy director at the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based group.

Altogether, from 180 to 450 people, and possibly more, were killed in four days of intense violence after the gasoline price increase was announced on Nov. 15, with at least 2,000 wounded and 7,000 detained, according to international rights organizations, opposition groups and local journalists.

The last enormous wave of protests in Iran — in 2009 after a contested election, which was also met with a deadly crackdown — left 72 people dead over a much longer period of about 10 months.

Only now, nearly two weeks after the protests were crushed — and largely obscured by an internet blackout in the country that was lifted recently — have details corroborating the scope of killings and destruction started to dribble out.

The latest outbursts not only revealed staggering levels of frustration with Iran’s leaders, but also underscored the serious economic and political challenges facing them, from the Trump administration’s onerous sanctions on the country to the growing resentment toward Iran by neighbors in an increasingly unstable Middle East.

The gas price increase, which was announced as most Iranians had gone to bed, came as Iran is struggling to fill a yawning budget gap. The Trump administration sanctions, mostly notably their tight restrictions on exports of Iran’s oil, are a big reason for the shortfall. The sanctions are meant to pressure Iran into renegotiating the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers, which President Trump abandoned, calling it too weak.

Most of the nationwide unrest seemed concentrated in neighborhoods and cities populated by low-income and working-class families, suggesting this was an uprising born in the historically loyal power base of Iran’s post-revolutionary hierarchy.

Many Iranians, stupefied and embittered, have directed their hostility directly at the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called the crackdown a justified response to a plot by Iran’s enemies at home and abroad.

The killings prompted a provocative warning from Mir Hussein Moussavi, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate whose 2009 election loss set off peaceful demonstrations that Ayatollah Khamenei also suppressed by force.

In a statement posted Saturday on an opposition website, Mr. Moussavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011 and seldom speaks publicly, blamed the supreme leader for the killings. He compared them to an infamous 1978 massacre by government forces that led to the downfall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi a year later, at the hands of the Islamic revolutionaries who now rule the country.

“The killers of the year 1978 were the representatives of a nonreligious regime and the agents and shooters of November 2019 are the representatives of a religious government,” he said. “Then the commander in chief was the shah and today, here, the supreme leader with absolute authority.”

The authorities have declined to specify casualties and arrests and have denounced unofficial figures on the national death toll as speculative. But the nation’s interior minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, has cited widespread unrest around the country.

On state media, he said that protests had erupted in 29 out of 31 provinces and 50 military bases had been attacked, which if true suggested a level of coordination absent in the earlier protests. The property damage also included 731 banks, 140 public spaces, nine religious centers, 70 gasoline stations, 307 vehicles, 183 police cars, 1,076 motorcycles and 34 ambulances, the interior minister said.

The worst violence documented so far happened in the city of Mahshahr and its suburbs, with a population of 120,000 people in Iran’s southwest Khuzestan Province — a region with an ethnic Arab majority that has a long history of unrest and opposition to the central government. Mahshahr is adjacent to the nation’s largest industrial petrochemical complex and serves as a gateway to Bandar Imam, a major port.

The New York Times interviewed six residents of the city, including a protest leader who had witnessed the violence; a reporter based in the city who works for Iranian media, and had investigated the violence but was banned from reporting it; and a nurse at the hospital where casualties were treated.

They each provided similar accounts of how the Revolutionary Guards deployed a large force to Mahshahr on Monday, Nov. 18, to crush the protests. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by the Guards.

For three days, according to these residents, protesters had successfully gained control of most of Mahshahr and its suburbs, blocking the main road to the city and the adjacent industrial petrochemical complex. Iran’s interior minister confirmed that the protesters had gotten control over Mahshahr and its roads in a televised interview last week, but the Iranian government did not respond to specific questions in recent days about the mass killings in the city.

Local security forces and riot police officers had attempted to disperse the crowd and open the roads, but failed, residents said. Several clashes between protesters and security forces erupted between Saturday evening and Monday morning before the Guards were dispatched there.

When the Guards arrived near the entrance to a suburb, Shahrak Chamran, populated by low-income ethnic Arabs, they immediately shot without warning at dozens of men blocking the intersection, killing several on the spot, according to the residents interviewed by phone.

The residents said the other protesters scrambled to a nearby sugar cane field, and that one of them, apparently armed with an AK-47, fired back. The Guards immediately encircled the men and responded with machine gun fire, killing as many as 100 people, the residents said.

The Guards piled the dead onto the back of a truck and departed, the residents said, and relatives of the wounded then transported them to Memko Hospital.

One of the residents, a 24-year-old unemployed college graduate in chemistry who had helped organize the protests blocking the roads, said he had been less than a mile away from the mass shooting and that his best friend, also 24, and a 32-year-old cousin were among the dead.

He said they both had been shot in the chest and their bodies were returned to the families five days later, only after they had signed paperwork promising not to hold funerals or memorial services and not to give interviews to media.

The young protest organizer said he, too, was shot in the ribs on Nov. 19, the day after the mass shooting, when the Guards stormed with tanks into his neighborhood, Shahrak Taleghani, among the poorest suburbs of Mahshahr.

He said a gun battle erupted for hours between the Guards and ethnic Arab residents, who traditionally keep guns for hunting at home. Iranian state media and witnesses reported that a senior Guards commander had been killed in a Mahshahr clash. Video on Twitter suggests tanks had been deployed there.

A 32-year-old nurse in Mahshahr reached by the phone said she had tended to the wounded at the hospital and that most had sustained gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

She described chaotic scenes at the hospital, with families rushing to bring in the casualties, including a 21 year old who was to be married but could not be saved. “‘Give me back my son!,’” the nurse quoted his sobbing mother as saying. “‘It’s his wedding in two weeks!’”

The nurse said security forces stationed at the hospital arrested some of the wounded protesters after their conditions had stabilized. She said some relatives, fearing arrest themselves, dropped wounded love ones at the hospital and fled, covering their faces.

On Nov. 25, a week after it happened, the city’s representative in Parliament, Mohamad Golmordai, vented outrage in a blunt moment of searing antigovernment criticism that was broadcast on Iranian state television and captured in photos and videos uploaded to the internet.

“What have you done that the undignified Shah did not do?” Mr. Golmordai screamed from the Parliament floor, as a scuffle broke out between him and other lawmakers, including one who grabbed him by the throat.

The local reporter in Mahshahr said the total number of people killed in three days of unrest in the area had reached 130, including those killed in the field.

“This regime has pushed people toward violence,” said Yousef Alsarkhi, 29, a political activist from Khuzestan who migrated to the Netherlands four years ago. “The more they repress, the more aggressive and angry people get.”

Political analysts said the protests appeared to have delivered a severe blow to President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate in Iran’s political spectrum, all but guaranteeing that hard-liners would win upcoming parliamentary elections and the presidency in two years.

The tough response to the protests also appeared to signal a hardening rift between Iran’s leaders and sizable segments of the population of 83 million.

“The government’s response was uncompromising, brutal and rapid,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy in Washington. Still, he said, the protests also had “demonstrated that many Iranians are not afraid to take to the streets.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com