White House Warns Iran against Meddling in Gaza Protests in US

Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags during a pro-Palestine rally held in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 07 July 2024. (EPA)
Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags during a pro-Palestine rally held in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 07 July 2024. (EPA)
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White House Warns Iran against Meddling in Gaza Protests in US

Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags during a pro-Palestine rally held in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 07 July 2024. (EPA)
Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags during a pro-Palestine rally held in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 07 July 2024. (EPA)

The White House on Tuesday accused Tehran of trying to take advantage of Gaza-related protests in the US and described such behavior as unacceptable, following a warning by the top US intelligence official that Iran was trying to stoke discord in American society.

The warning, issued earlier on Tuesday by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, said actors tied to Iran's government had posed as activists online, sought to encourage protests regarding Gaza and even provided demonstrators with financial support.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said freedom of expression was vital to American democracy, but the government also had a duty to warn citizens about foreign influence operations.

"Americans across the political spectrum, acting in good faith, have sought to express their own independent views on the conflict in Gaza. The freedom to express diverse views when done peacefully is essential to our democracy," she said.

"At the same time, the US government has a duty to warn Americans about foreign malign influences. ... We will continue to expose attempts to undermine our democracy in our society just as we are today."

Tehran had no immediate comment.

An official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said the warning on Iran showed how countries tried to take advantage of controversial issues in the run-up to elections, both to embarrass the US and "inflame social division."

The official, who asked not to be named, said Iran had a longstanding interest in exploiting US political and social tensions, including through social media.

"In particular, we are monitoring Iranian actors who are seeking to exacerbate tensions on the Israel-Gaza conflict," the official said.



Bangladesh Extends Curfew ahead of Court Hearing on Controversial Job Quotas

18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
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Bangladesh Extends Curfew ahead of Court Hearing on Controversial Job Quotas

18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Bangladesh extended a curfew on Sunday to control violent student-led protests that have killed at least 114 people, as authorities braced for a Supreme Court hearing later in the day on government job quotas that sparked the anger.
Soldiers have been on patrol on the streets of capital Dhaka, the center of the demonstrations that spiraled into clashes between protesters and security forces, Reuters said.
Internet and text message services in Bangladesh have been suspended since Thursday, cutting the nation off as police cracked down on protesters who defied a ban on public gatherings.
A curfew ordered late on Friday has been extended to 3 p.m. (0900 GMT) on Sunday, until after the Supreme Court hearing, and will continue for an "uncertain time" following a two-hour break for people to gather supplies, local media reported.
Universities and colleges have also been closed since Wednesday.
Nationwide unrest broke out following student anger against quotas for government jobs that included reserving 30% for the families of those who fought for independence from Pakistan.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government had scrapped the quota system in 2018, but a court reinstated it last month.
The Supreme Court suspended the decision after a government appeal and will hear the case on Sunday after agreeing to bring forward a hearing scheduled for Aug. 7.
The demonstrations - the biggest since Hasina was re-elected for a fourth successive term this year - have also been fueled by high unemployment among young people, who make up nearly a fifth of the population.
The US State Department on Saturday raised its travel advisory for Bangladesh to level four, urging American citizens to not travel to the South Asian country.