Anti-government demonstrations spread nationwide in Iran, Jan. 12, as protesters demand Ayatollah's resignation. Avoid protests.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 12 Jan 2020 17:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Jan 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Protests
  • Location: Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Jan. 12
  • Impact: Increased security; localized transport disruptions, possible skirmishes

Summary
Anti-government demonstrations spread nationwide in Iran, Jan. 12, as protesters demand the resignation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei due to the government's initial attempts to cover up Iran's responsibility in downing a passenger plane. Demonstrations have been reported in multiple cities, including Tehran, Isfahan, Sanandaj, Qazvin, and Kermanshah. The demonstrations began in Tehran on Jan. 11 as several thousand protesters gathered in the city center. Security forces reportedly used tear gas and possibly live ammo to disperse the crowd and injuries were reported.

Further demonstrations are likely in cities nationwide in the following days. Security forces have deployed in large numbers to monitor and disperse the demonstrations. Localized transport disruptions are likely. Further skirmishes between police and protesters are possible.

Background and Analysis
Iranian authorities confirmed on Jan. 11 that Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian civilian plane the morning of Jan. 9, after initially denying the allegations. The plane, which was en route to Kyiv, Ukraine, crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA), killing all 176 individuals on board. The incident happened shortly after Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missile at US forces in Iraq in retaliation for the US killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport (BGW) early Jan. 3.

Advice
Avoid all large gatherings, as well as areas where security forces have deployed, due to possible clashes. Plan for ground transport disruptions and allow extra time to reach destinations in major cities, especially near likely protest locations like public squares, government buildings, and gas stations. Heed the instructions of security personnel. If violence breaks out nearby, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, non-government building.

Related Advice: Tips for reducing your vulnerability in the event of civil unrest.