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Vox Sentences: Iran is gripped by its 6th day of violent protests

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Violent protests continue in Iran; North Korea makes a rare diplomatic overture to its southern neighbor.

Frustration with the Iranian government has reached a boiling point

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  • Six days of protests in Iran have left at least 20 people dead so far as protesters have clashed with police. [Washington Post / Erin Cunningham]
  • The protests have focused on the country's economic woes as well as its highly controlled government. They started after price hikes in the city of Mashhad but have since grown. [BBC]
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has tried to strike a diplomatic tone, saying the protesters are lashing out because of legitimate issues. Rouhani was initially elected as a reform candidate who promised to crack down on corruption and grow the economy, but it appears many Iranian citizens don't believe change is happening fast enough. [NYT / Thomas Erdbrink]
  • Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has condemned the protests and suggested they were started by "enemies" of the Islamic Republic. Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has made it clear the US is on the side of the protesters. [Guardian / Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Julian Borger]
  • President Donald Trump, a frequent Iran critic, also weighed in this morning, saying the US is "watching" Iran for any human rights violations. [Politico / Louis Nelson]
  • But Trump also took things a step further in a series of tweets, lambasting the Obama administration in a veiled reference to the nuclear deal negotiated by the former president. For the record, the nuclear deal doesn't have much to do with the protests. [Atlantic / Ariane Tabatabai]
  • The violence shows no signs of abating, as government officials have talked about a heightened police presence in response to the demonstrations. [CNN / Angela Dewan and Euan McKirdy]

North Korea just agreed to diplomatic talks (but still threatened to bomb the US)

  • There is at least one bright spot in the news today: It looks like tensions on the Korean Peninsula could be easing, as North and South Korea could be close to holding diplomatic talks ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics. [Washington Post / Simon Denyer]
  • But there was still plenty of bluster about nuclear war with the United States from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his yearly address. The US has taken a noticeably harder line than South Korea on North Korea lately, and the strain has been showing. [NYT / Choe Sang-Hun and David Sanger]
  • These talks are supposed to take place in the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries, and if they happen, they would be the first in two years. The fact that Kim is talking about easing tensions with his southern neighbor is promising, but it could also mean he's trying to divide the US and South Korea — two longtime allies. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • Diplomacy with North Korea is something that has been tried multiple times over the years, with no solid agreements produced. Though these talks are uncertain, there's a feeling among the South Korean government that they should be attempted. [The Diplomat / Björn Alexander Düben]

News section 3


  • Hey, 2018 East Coast "winter hurricane," a.k.a. "bomb cyclone," a.k.a. "exploding storm," we have one question for you: Could you just ... not? [Washington Post / Jason Samenow]
  • That heartbreaking viral video of a dying polar bear in an ice-free Arctic has set off a fierce debate between climate change activists and scientists and local Inuits, who say the bear's death can't be solely blamed on climate change. [Outside Magazine / Eva Holland]
  • If you're trying to start off the new year on the right financial foot, here are some tips to save that are actually worthwhile and relatively easy. [The Cut / Charlotte Cowles]
  • Longstanding Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a powerful Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, is retiring. Cue the return of Mitt Romney. [Cook Political Report / Jennifer Duffy]


"Trump claims he's a victim, blames the media; the media becomes combative; his victimhood deepens, becomes part of the identity of his followers. Trump creates his version of reality and we end up in it one way or another." [Charlie Warzel / BuzzFeed News]

Watch this: N.E.R.D.'s hit song "Lemon" owes a lot to New Orleans bounce

Big Freedia explains where “Lemon” got its bounce. [YouTube / Estelle Caswell]

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