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Germany: Iranians Have Legitimate Right to Protest Economic, Political Woes

Germany: Iranians Have Legitimate Right to Protest Economic, Political Woes

Wednesday, 3 January, 2018 - 11:30
Protesters wave flags as they gather outside the Iranian Embassy in central London on January 2, 2018, in support of national demonstrations in Iran against the existing regime. (AFP)

Germany expressed on Wednesday its support for the anti-government protests in Iran, saying it was closely following the developments.

“The federal government considers it legitimate when people courageously protest their economic and political woes on the streets as is happening in Iran at the moment and they have our respect,” said government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer.

She added that the protesters demonstrating against economic hardship deserved respect.

She urged Iranian authorities to initiate dialogue with the protesters and to respond proportionately to demonstrators who engage in violence, adding that Germany was alarmed by reports of deaths in six days of unrest.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Iranian counterpart in a phone call to show restraint in dealing with protests, Macron’s office said in a statement.

The statement said Macron had expressed his concern to President Hassan Rouhani over the number of casualties in the protests, and told him that freedom of speech and protest must be respected.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s planned trip to Tehran later this week was also postponed to a future date, the French presidency said.

Iranian media said Rouhani had asked France to act against Mujahideen exiles working against the Iranian establishment from Paris.

Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei accused the country’s enemies on Tuesday of being behind days of street unrest, as the death toll from anti-government demonstrations rose to 21.

“In recent days, enemies of Iran used different tools including cash, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus to create troubles for the Islamic Republic,” he said, in his first reaction to the unrest.

The United States rejected the suggestion that the protests were the work of foreign powers.

“We all know that’s complete nonsense,” said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations.

“The demonstrations are completely spontaneous. They are virtually in every city in Iran. This is the precise picture of a long oppressed people rising up against their dictators.”

Washington will seek emergency sessions at the United Nations to express support for the protesters, Haley said, adding that the international community had failed to support reformist protests in 2009 that were crushed by Tehran.

“We must not make that mistake again,” she said.

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