Trudeau says meetings with families of plane crash victims gut wrenching
Jan 14 2020
Iran's security forces were deployed in large numbers across the capital, with riot police in black uniforms and helmets massed at Vali-e Asr Square, Teheran University and other landmarks as calls circulated for protests later in the day. Tehran and several other cities were full of people chanting slogans condemning the country's leadership.
Some state-affiliated media also carried reports of university protests, following Saturday's demonstrations sparked by Iran's announcement its military mistakenly brought down the Ukrainian plane on Wednesday, killing all 176 onboard. Public anger boiled up following days of denials by the Iranian military.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Iran was attempting to make itself the victim by blaming the jet incident, in part, on the escalation in tensions with Washington.
The latest upsurge in anger adds to challenges facing the authorities, which launched a bloody crackdown in November to quell protests that were initially focused on an increase in fuel prices. About 1,500 people were killed in less than two weeks of unrest, three interior ministry officials told Reuters, though global rights groups put the figure much lower. In 2016, 210,000 Canadians claimed Iranian origins, according to official figures.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: "To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching", he posted on Twitter.
11 statement saying the January 8 Ukraine International Airlines crash, which killed 176 people, was due to "human error", adding that it was "unforgivable".
"After successive national traumas in a short time period, people should be allowed to safely grieve and demand accountability", said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the New York-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran.
Iran retaliated to a U.S. drone strike ordered by Trump that killed Al Quds commander Qassem Soleimani, by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that housed American troops. Members of Congress say they haven't been show evidence that Soleimani presented an "imminent" threat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has suggested "imminent" might not be the right word, and on Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien walked back Trump's assertion that US intelligence predicted Soleimani had planned to attack four USA embassies.
Trudeau's office confirmed on Saturday that the prime minister will address the memorial service, due to be held in a basketball arena that seats 1,700 people in the western city of Edmonton. IF protesters in Iran imagine that by slamming the current government they may somehow usher in the fall of the Islamic Republic and a better government, they are sadly mistaken.
Iran had vowed to exact "severe revenge" for the January 3 US drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations arm.
"We want to assure all families and all Canadians that we will not rest until there are answers", he said.
"I wish I was in the (Ukrainian) plane and crashed and wouldn't witness such a tragic incident", said Hossein Salami.
His funeral prompted huge public gatherings, which the authorities described as a show of national unity. But the displays of emotion have been swiftly overshadowed and protesters on Saturday tore up pictures of the slain general.
Tehran can not undo mistakes made, but a genuine attempt to make amends might, at the very least, be sufficient for its own protesting people at the moment.
Retaliation would happen in the "coming days, weeks and months", Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech. However, Western intelligence reports pointed to Iranian culpability as tension escalated between Iran and the United States following the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on January 3.
"To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS".
A number of Iranian newspapers covering the vigils for the plane victims used headlines such as "shame" and "Unforgivable".
Canada does not have diplomatic relations with Iran.