IRAN has shown signs of a break in the regime after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attempted to hide their involvement in the shooting down of Flight 752, Lord Lamont claimed.
Iran has been facing popular outrage after Tehran confirmed their involvement in shooting down Ukraine Airline Flight 752 in the aftermath of a retaliatory attack on US airbases in Iraq. Lord Lamont, the chair of the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, suggested the IRGC attempted to keep details of their involvement in the plane crash concealed from the echelons of the regime. Speaking to the Today programme, the Conservative peer said: “I think what has happened is part of the regime, the Revolutionary Guards, have concealed from the rest of the regime what had actually happened.
“But the public, already fed up with corruption and incompetence saw this as a coverup.
“And, of course, there were students very much among the passengers and the protest has been particularly strong at universities.”
Lord Lamont also said the protests were a “very sharp turn” from previous signs of unity between the Iranian public and regime shown after the assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani on January 3.
Hundreds of Iranians took to the street after the US killed Soleimani to pay tribute to the commander as President Hassan Rouhani warned Iran “would take revenge”. Iran later launched an attack on two US airbases in Iraq and insisted their strike “concluded” retaliation from Tehran.
But hours after the attack, Flight 752 en route to Kyiv disappeared from radars and was discovered to have crashed two minutes after takeoff. All 176 passengers and crew members on board were killed.
Lord Lamont continued: “It is a very sudden change of direction by the public opinion. After the attack and the killing of Soleimani, it appeared the country was united.
“Then you had this tragic incident where the plane was shot down and a lot of opinion has turned very sharply around, criticising the regime.”
According to Iran, the passenger jet had been mistakenly attacked following a wave of retaliatory strikes in the aftermath of the death of military commander Qassem Soleimani.
In order to fully investigate the attack, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said it would investigate the black box from the plane.
Videos shared online showed thousands of university students amassed outside of Tehran University on Sunday to protest the regime.
Chants calling for the “death of the dictator” could be heard, as well as shouts of “Khamenei have shame. Leave the country.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the religious leader of Iran, has been in power since 1989 and there is no limit to his term.
Protests were also reported outside the Iranian capital in Shiraz, Hamedan, Esfahan and Orumiyeh in what appears to show widespread discontent with the regime.
Iranian security forces deployed to the demonstration fired tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters as well as live ammunition despite US President Donald Trump urging Tehran “do not kill your protesters.”
In a tweet published on Sunday, the US leader wrote: “Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching.
“Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”