Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Rouhani: Iran Protests About More than Economy

Rouhani: Iran Protests About More than Economy

Tuesday, 9 January, 2018 - 06:45
People demonstrate in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran near the Iranian embassy in Paris, France, Jan. 6, 2018.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted on Monday the presence of security, political, social and cultural motives behind the protests that spread in the country over economic issues before turning against the regime.

Rouhani went back to the strategy of his last presidential campaign by raising the banner of defending social freedoms in a swipe at his hardline rivals.

“It would be a misrepresentation (of events) and also an insult to Iranian people to say they only had economic demands,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

“People had economic, political and social demands.”

The Iranian President called on improving social justice, individual freedom and political tolerance, echoing some of his campaign rhetoric, which were questioned by his main challenger in the contest, according to Reuters.

Rouhani also called for the lifting of curbs on social media used by anti-government protesters in the most sustained challenge to conservative authorities since 2009.

Meanwhile, reformist member of Iranian parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi said in a tweet that one of those arrested during recent protests has died in prison.

Reformist lawmaker Tayebeh Siavashi told the semiofficial ILNA news agency that she was informed by authorities that the detainee "committed suicide in jail."

More than 2,000 Iranians were detained by regime authorities in 15 provinces across the country during the protests, according to statements made by several Iranian officials in the past days.

Legal activist Karim Dahimi told Asharq Al-Awsat that at least 1,400 people were arrested in the cities of Ahvaz, a province in the southwest of Iran.

Dahimi said that there are four juveniles among the detainees, stressing the wave of protests across the country had not stopped.

He added there was no accurate information about the number of people arrested by the regime in other Iranian cities.

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