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Anti-Government Protesters In Iran Risk Violence From Police

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

In Iran, the last days of 2017 were marked by widespread protests against that country's government. Thousands turned out and so did the police, who are shown on video beating protesters.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We reached some protesters inside Iran. They spoke on the condition that we don't use their names. One protester is 25 years old, a college graduate and, like many of Iran's young people, is looking for a job in a battered economy. She says she joined a march on Sunday in Tehran's Enghelab square.

CHANG: Men who appear to be plainclothes police mixed with demonstrators. The protester told us she was with her friends when, quote, "the police attacked us and beat me violently." She also saw them beating other men and women.

MARTIN: An Iranian journalist, who spoke with the protester, asked her, why take the risk when Iran's security forces are so powerful? This is what she said.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: She told me that I am very angry, and people are angry about the situation. And I asked her, what's your goal? You want regime change? What do you want? She said, I don't want regime change. I'm not going to ask the last king come back to Iran myself. But I need the government listen to us.

MARTIN: And throughout the protests in Iran, President Trump has tweeted support for the protesters and disparaged the Iranian government. All the while, as we just heard, North Korea continues to poke at the U.S. President Trump has been tweeting, of course, though one Senate Republican - Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina - warns that's not enough.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LINDSEY GRAHAM: It's not enough to watch. President Trump is tweeting very sympathetically to the Iranian people, but you just can't tweet here. You have to lay out a plan. And if I were President Trump, I'd lay out a plan as to how I would engage the regime. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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