- Event: Anti-US protests, funeral processions
- Location: Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Through Jan. 7
- Impact: Ground transport and business disruptions, increased security
Anti-US protests and funeral processions will persist in Iran through at least Jan. 7. The actions are in response to the Jan. 3 deaths of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and several prominent Iraqi Shi'a militia leaders, including Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, in Baghdad. Their are scheduled to be transferred to Iran following funeral processions in Baghdad Jan. 4. Events are reportedly scheduled in Mashhad at the Imam Reza Holy Shrine and University of Tehran in Tehran Jan. 5. Another event is scheduled Jan. 6 at an undisclosed location in Terhan. Soleimani is due to be buried in his hometown, Kerman, Jan. 7. Unconfirmed reports suggest that processions are also scheduled in Ahvaz Jan. 5. Iranian authorities may announce new or amend scheduled events at short notice.
Tens of thousands of people are likely to attend official events. Spontaneous gatherings are also likely nationwide in the coming days, including in public squares and city squares, and near religious shrines and government buildings. In Tehran, protests may also gather at the former US embassy and Imam Khomeini Musalla. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to manage all gatherings. Ground travel disruptions are almost certain near all gathering points. Authorities may also reduce government operating hours during commemorative events. Commercial disruptions are also likely. Clashes at official events are unlikely; however, gatherings are likely to carry a strong anti-Israeli and anti-Western sentiment.
Background and Analysis
The Iranian government has denounced the Jan. 3 US-led attack and have threatened to retaliate. The nature of the retaliation has not been revealed. Iran also announced three days of mourning Jan. 3 during which time widespread government and commercial operation disruptions are likely. In addition, tens of thousands of Iranians participated peacefully in anti-US protests in Iran Friday, Jan. 3. The government is likely to continue to organize demonstrations to bolster domestic support and to condemn the Jan. 3 assassinations in Baghdad. Following scheduled and likely events in the coming days, these may escalate nationwide Friday, Jan. 10.
Liaise with trusted contacts regarding possible gathering points. Maintain a low public profile and avoid all gatherings and rallies. Allow extra time to reach destinations in major cities, especially near likely protest locations like public squares, government buildings. Heed the advice of security personnel. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.