World Tour: Violence in Iran and turmoil in Malta

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Rally in Paris over Iran violence—We start today in Europe.

AUDIO: [Sound of music, singing at rally]

Hundreds of people rallied in Paris on Monday to call attention to violence against protesters in Iran. According to Amnesty International, more than 200 people have died since protests began.

Iranians took to the streets on November 15th over an increase in gas prices. But they are also angry about the country’s stagnating economy.

AUDIO: [Iranian state TV newscast in Farsi]

Iranian officials admitted on Tuesday that security forces shot and killed some protesters. A report on state-run television called them “rioters” and praised police for their actions. Officials rejected Amnesty’s death toll estimate but did not provide a count of their own.

Tuesday’s admission came as the government began to restore internet access throughout the country. Officials blocked access after the protests started in an attempt to contain news about the violence. Iranians now coming back online are sharing their own stories and videos of the brutal crackdown.

IAEA gets new director general—Meanwhile in Austria…

GROSSI: I solemnly swear to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience, the functions entrusted to me as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency… 

Veteran Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi became the new director general of The International Atomic Energy Agency. Grossi told reporters that Iran’s nuclear program was the root of a growing international crisis.

GROSSI: I think it’s self-evident that it is something that we are working on very seriously with Iran and we have to continue. It is really a priority and that is something I can say.

Iran continues to violate the terms of the 2015 agreement that limited its nuclear production capacity. But it so far has not blocked international inspectors from visiting the country.

Last month the IAEA said its inspectors found traces of uranium at a site not previously declared as a nuclear facility. It called on Tehran to explain the discrepancy. So far the country’s leaders have not responded.

Political turmoil in Malta—Next we go to the island nation of Malta.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Maltese]

The country’s prime minister resigned this week, leaving the small Mediterranean country in political turmoil. Joseph Muscat said he would leave office in January, but protesters want him to step down immediately.

They accuse Muscat of interfering in a police investigation into the assassination of a well-known journalist in 2017. Daphne Caruana Galizia was investigating government corruption. Her family claims she was killed because of what she discovered.

Corinne Vella is Galizia’s sister.

VELLA: I have mixed feelings because while I feel this is a vindication of everything Daphne wrote about, because this is all due to her work exposing corruption, I am so sorry that she can’t see it for herself.

A businessman arrested last month in the case claims the prime minister’s top aid ordered the reporter’s killing. Critics accuse Muscat of interfering in the investigation to keep more incriminating evidence from coming out.

China-Russia pipeline opens—And finally we end today in Asia.

XI: [Speaking Mandarin]

Chinese Secretary General Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin officially opened a gas pipeline between the two countries this week. The pipeline stretches for nearly 4,000 miles between Siberia and the Chinese border. It will carry 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China every year for the next 30 years.

The $400 billion energy deal strengthens ties between the two countries at a time when their relationships with the West have become more strained.

That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud) People hold pictures of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as they protest outside the office of the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, calling for the resignation of Muscat, in Valletta, Malta., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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