Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency, in a rare report on anti-government unrest, said protesters in Tehran on Saturday chanted slogans against the nation’s top authorities, after the powerful Revolutionary Guards admitted shooting down a passenger plane.
The report said the demonstrators on the street also ripped up pictures of Qassem Soleimani, the prominent commander of the Guard’s Quds Force who was killed in a US drone strike.
The agency, widely seen as close to the Guards, carried pictures of the gathering and a torn banner of Soleimani. It said the protesters numbered about 700 to 1,000 people.
According to Masoud Alfak, an expert in Iranian affairs, Fars did not report the news in order to support the protesters but rather as a condemnation of the ongoing protests.
“Actually, it takes orders from the Guards and its editor-in-chief is being appointed by the media section of the Revolutionary Guards,” Alfak said in an interview with Al Arabiya.
Alfak explained that Fars news agency “still lives this illusion. It created the image of Qassem Soleimani and these traitors [protesters] ripped up [posters] of this legend [Soleimani],” he said.