Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Iranian dailies argue over terminology of dissent: Legal protesters or paid rioters?

One month into protests and deadly riots over the death of an Iranian woman in police custody, two Iranian dailies have differing views on the nature of the protestors, with one branding them as “rioters, murderers, and mercenaries” and the other saying they are disillusioned protesters with legitimate demands who deserve leniency.

Principalist newspaper Kayhan, in an editorial published on Wednesday, berated suggestions that Iranian authorities need to approach the protesters to find common grounds with them.

The daily’s editor in chief, Hossein Shariatmadari, wrote that the protests and deadly riots in the country following the death of a young Iranian women in a police station were perpetrated by “a bunch of rioters, murderers and mercenaries, who attacked people and their property and honor,” adding, “there is nothing in their vocabulary but destruction, vandalism, murder, and crime.”

Shariatmadari also lent support to Iranian Chief Justice Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei who said the rioters should be dealt with decisively and punished harshly in a way to regret what they did.

On the other side of the spectrum, Johmuri-e Eslami painted a different picture of the incidents, blaming officials who look down on people for the yawning “gap between the citizens and the ruling system.”

The daily, in a counter-editorial, castigated the authorities for calling the protesters who were involved in the recent unrest “kids who don’t know anything” but eulogizing those who took to the streets in support of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Jomhuri-e Eslami said the only solution to put an end to the upheaval is to interact with the people in their own language.

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