Violent anti-government protests are raging on in Iran, with the death toll reaching 21 after nine people were killed on Monday. According to CNN, the Iranian state media is claiming 450 people have been arrested in the last three days alone, as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the country’s “enemies” for stirring up unrest. A leaked report provided exclusively to Fox News, meanwhile, shows that Khamenei met with officials and security forces on and before December 31 to discuss how to control the nationwide protests.
As CNN reported, the demonstrations, which are predominantly made up of young people, began on Thursday in response to Iran’s sluggish economy and rising cost of living. Tensions continued to rise over the weekend, as protests spread from the capital of Tehran to at least 18 other cities—though some reports indicate it could be as many as 40. All the while, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attempted to downplay the significance of the uprising, claiming that “this is nothing” compared to past incidents of unrest.
Despite Rouhani’s public statements, the documents obtained by Fox News show the Ayatollah and his regime are contemplating military action against demonstrators because their action hurts the economy and “threatens the regime’s security. The first step, therefore, is to find a way out of this situation.”
The meeting notes imply the government is hoping to receive the support of religious leaders to “prevent the situation [from] deteriorating further.”
“God help us,” it read, “this is a very complex situation and is different from previous occasions.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which received the leaked memos from high level sources within Khamenei’s regime, said the notes indicate the intelligence division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is “monitoring the situation” and “working all in coordination to prevent protests.” According to state media, protesters have been shouting slogans like “death to the dictator” and “the leader lives like God while the people live like beggars.”
A so-called “red-alert” has not yet been declared—meaning direct military intervention has not been authorized—because there is a fear within the government that such action would “backfire” and would further “antagonize the protesters.”
On Monday, President Donald Trump chastised the “failing” country and said it is “time for change.”
Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
He issued another tweet on Tuesday, praising the people of Iran for “finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime,” while taking a shot at the Iranian nuclear deal brokered by the Obama Administration.
The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their “pockets.” The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
(H/T: Fox News)