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Tehran Criticizes Washington's Support for Peaceful Assembly of Iranians

Tehran Criticizes Washington's Support for Peaceful Assembly of Iranians

Tuesday, 17 May, 2022 - 09:00
Protesters set fire to a banner of the Iranian president in the city of Hafshejan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, on Saturday evening. (Social media)

Protests against deteriorating living conditions continued in several Iranian provinces, while Tehran protested the support of the US State Department's spokesman for the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in Iran.

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a tweet on Sunday: “We support their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression online and offline -- without fear of violence and reprisal”.

“Brave Iranian protestors are standing up for their rights.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the position of his US counterpart as “exaggerated enthusiasm.”

He accused Washington of fearing the Iranian economy getting fortified.

Nour News, the news platform of the Supreme National Security Council, protested Price's statement, describing it as “interference in Iran's internal affairs.”

In a statement, it added that the US position “comes at a time when some citizens have expressed their concerns in the past few days without any problems.”

Waves of protests hit the provinces of Lorestan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari and Fars in the south and west of the country.

This comes two weeks after demonstrations erupted in the southwestern province of Ahwas.

Demonstrators are rallying against the rise in flour prices, which raised the price of bread tenfold, according to Iranian websites.

Footage widely circulating on social media showed police firing tear gas to disperse protesters at the Tehran (Sadeghiyeh) Metro Station, one of the largest metro stations in west Tehran.

Earlier footage showed the police using tear gas also in the city of Shahr-e Kord, the capital city of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province in the southwest of Iran.

On Monday, civil transport workers in Tehran joined the protests, chanting slogans calling for the dismissal of Tehran's mayor.

Protests had spread to about ten out of 31 Iranian provinces last week, after the government announced a price hike for four food commodities: oil, dairy, chicken, and eggs.

Authorities cut off the Internet in some provinces that witnessed protests.

The Iranian government began implementing its plan to stop the support allocated to the dollar for the purchase of food commodities.

Last week, President Ebrahim Raisi tried to calm an angry public by vowing to speed up reform of the state aid payment system.

Last Thursday, the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami described what is happening in the country as “economic surgery” and gave tacit orders to the Basij forces to “help the people.”

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