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Iranian Vice President Rules out Referendum amid Ongoing Protests

Iranian Vice President Rules out Referendum amid Ongoing Protests

Tuesday, 29 November, 2022 - 10:15
A banner of the Iranian national football team, on the eve of its match with the United States at the FIFA World Cup, is set on fire on a highway in central Tehran. (Twitter)

The Iranian government has rejected demands for a referendum to change the system of the Islamic Republic regime and the freedom to wear the veil, as the protests continued over the death of Mahsa Amini.

In a press conference in Tehran on Monday, Mohammad Dehghan, Iranian Vice President for Legal Affairs, touched on the protesters’ calls to amend the law on the veil and to hold a referendum on the regime.

“If necessary, we will hold a referendum with the approval of the Supreme Leader and the vote of two-thirds of the parliament,” he noted, adding: “It is impossible to change the system of the Islamic Republic… The referendum is not like ordinary legislation.”

Dehghan continued: “The freedom of the veil contradicts the principles and manifestations of the Islamic Republic. We have held meetings, and we will announce our opinion about the veil to the competent authorities… At a time of unrest, the enemies insist on raising some issues that do not serve the interest of the country.”

Protests and strikes continue in Iran since the death of Amini, 22, in September.

Truck drivers maintained their strike for the third day in a row, while videos on social networks showed demonstrations in the provinces of Kermanshah, Qazvin, Lorestan, Hormozgan and Isfahan. In addition, the employees of the Iron and Steel Company in Isfahan renewed their strike.

A group of teachers in the Kurdistan province issued a statement in a video recording, criticizing the continued repression and violence. Similarly, 210 professors from the University of Tabriz, the provincial capital of East Azerbaijan, released a statement condemning the killing of medical student Elar Hakki earlier this month.

Sunni clerics in the provinces of Baluchistan and Kurdistan, most notably the Friday Imam of Zahedan, Abdul Hamid Ismail Zahi, called for holding a referendum on the Iranian policies under international supervision.

Meanwhile, Iranian media revealed a draft law that a group of deputies intends to present in the coming days, to toughen judicial rulings against collaborators “with countries that are hostile to national security and national interests.” According to this law, the detainees will face corruption charges, which are punished by penalties that can reach the death sentence.

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