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12 Jan 2020 | 12:24 PM UTC

Iran: Nationwide protests continue January 12 /update 4

Protests erupt nationwide on January 12 following announcement that an Iranian missile shot down Ukrainian passenger plane; further protests possible over the coming days

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IRN

Event

Protests erupted across Iran for a second consecutive day on Sunday, January 12, in response to the government's admission that it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane that led to the deaths of all 176 people on board. In Tehran, thousands reportedly gathered at Azadi Square and at several universities, chanting anti-government slogans and calling for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down. A heavy security presence was reported in the capital, with riot police firing tear gas to disperse the crowds. Related protests were held in Shiraz, Isfahan, Hamedan, and Urmia. 

Further protests are possible over the coming days and weeks. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.

Context

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced on January 11 that the incident was due to "human error" after the plane flew too close to a Revolutionary Guards' military site. The plane crashed near the Tehran suburb of Parand shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) at approximately 06:12 on January 8. None of the 176 passengers and crew members on board survived the crash.

Advice

Individuals in Iran, particularly Tehran, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate localized disruption, and obey all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.