After four days of demonstrations, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Iranians are free to protest against the government but not to jeopardize security.
Iranians May Protest but Must Avoid Violence: Rouhani
Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, said Iranians had the right to protest and criticize the authorities but their actions should not lead to violence or damage public property.
“People are absolutely free to criticize the government and protest, but their protests should be to improve the situation in the country and their lives,” Rouhani said. “Criticism is different from violence and damaging public properties.”
Anti-government protesters demonstrated on Sunday in defiance of a warning by the authorities of a tough crackdown. The protests have extended into the fourth day, in one of the most audacious challenges to the clerical leadership since pro-reform unrest in 2009.
Tens of thousands of people have protested across the country since Thursday against the Islamic Republic’s unelected clerical elite and Iranian foreign policy in the region.
They have also chanted slogans in support of political prisoners.
“Resolving the problems is not easy and would take time. The government and people should help each other to resolve the issues,” Rouhani said.
Rouhani also rebuffed US President Donald Trump’s comments in support of the protests.
“This man in America, who is sympathizing today with our people, has forgotten that he called the Iranian nation terrorists a few months ago. “This man who is against the Iranian nation to his core has no right to sympathize with Iranians,” he added.
The protests have been the biggest show of dissent since huge rallies in 2009.
There have been reports of clashes in several cities, and Iran has restricted social networks used to organize protests.