Iran Braces for More Protests After Military Admitted Shooting Down Plane

The Extremism Watch Desk and the Persian News Network contributed to this report.
Iran deployed riot police in Tehran, the capital, on Sunday as authorities braced for another day of protests after the military admitted to mistakenly shooting down a civilian Ukrainian plane, killing all 176 on boardDemonstrations were held in several Iranian cities Saturday, with protesters venting anger after news that Iranian officials lied about the country’s role in the deadly crash.U.S. President Donald Trump warned Tehran against attacking the demonstrators.”To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS,” Trump said 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!”To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020In Tehran, protesters gathered near universities and called for the resignation of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and chanted, “Down with liars!” and “Death to dictator!” 
VOA’s Persian news service reported protests also spread to other areas of Iran, including the country’s third-largest city of Isfahan.  Sorry, but your player cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
Iranian students demonstrate following a tribute to the victims of a Ukraine International Airlines crash, in front of Amirkabir University in Tehran, Jan. 11, 2020. Police later dispersed students chanting what were seen as “radical” slogans.Iranian officials told the truth about the circumstances of the crash only after it became apparent that the evidence on the ground from the doomed flight would not allow the Iranians to continue to lie, according to the New York Times newspaper.The plane crashed Wednesday, but Iran did not reveal that it had shot down the aircraft until Saturday.A Ukrainian official told TheNew York Times that its experts had gathered information at the crash site “despite apparent Iranian efforts to complicate the investigation, including by sweeping debris into piles rather than carefully documenting it.” Ukraine says the Kyiv-bound doomed flight took off as usual with no word to the crew about the ballistic missile attack.Oleksiy Danilov, the Ukrainian official heading the crash investigation, told The New York Times that the Iranians could no longer lie about the circumstances of the crash 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.” Also Saturday, Iran briefly detained British Ambassador to Iran Robert Macaire, who was arrested during an anti-government protest in Tehran. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law. “The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards,” Raab said. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus tweeted about the detainment: “This violates the Vienna Convention, which the regime has a notorious history of violating. We call on the regime to formally apologize to the UK for violating his rights and to respect the rights of all diplomats.” The U.S. called on Iran to apologize to Macaire, who was reported to be “safe and well” after being released from custody.

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