WASHINGTON - Days of protests against Iranian leaders over the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner appear to indicate public anger has been redirected away from America's targeted killing of a top Iranian general. But foreign policy analysts say it is too early to tell if this is the beginning of a broader popular movement.
"My expectation is that the demonstrations, however large they may be, are really not huge and are really not likely to metastasize a lot more," said Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
The demonstrations erupted Saturday in the capital and other cities after Iranian officials admitted the military shot down a civilian plane, a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737, shortly after takeoff from Tehran that was bound for Kyiv on Jan. 8. All 176 people on board were killed. Most of the passengers were Iranian citizens or of Iranian descent. For three days, Iran insisted that mechanical problems likely caused the plane to crash before acknowledging the truth.
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