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The crowds that thronged the streets of Kerman on 7 January to see the coffin of slain Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander General Qassim Soleimani were in sharp contrast to the crowds that filled the streets of Iranian towns and cities in late 2019. Authorities that brutally suppressed nationwide demonstrations in November were happy to see even more people take to the streets – even in generally dissident regions such as Ahvaz – to mark the death of the architect of Iran’s ‘forward defence’ strategy, killed by a United States drone strike at Baghdad airport in the early hours of 3 January.
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