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The New Arab

EU urges Iran to guarantee right to protest

The statement was issued by the spokeswoman for the bloc's foreign policy chief [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 2 January, 2018

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The EU called on Iran to guarantee the right to protest as authorities moved to crack down on days of unrest across the nation.

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EU, Iran, Protests,

The European Union [EU] pushed Iran to guarantee the right to protest on Monday, as authorities moved to crack down on days of unrest across the nation.

"We have been in touch with the Iranian authorities and we expect that the right to peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression will be guaranteed," a spokeswoman for the bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

"We will continue to monitor developments," the spokeswoman added.

Protests broke out on Thursday and have quickly grown to become the biggest test for the regime since mass demonstrations in 2009.

The total death toll linked to the protests currently stands at 13. Authorities have confirmed more than 400 arrests since the outbreak of the unrest, of whom around 100 have been freed.

The latest demonstrations came despite President Hassan Rouhani's vow that the nation would deal with "rioters and lawbreakers".

Rouhani played down the unrest, which began in second city Mashhad last Thursday and quickly spread across the country to become the biggest test for the regime since mass protests in 2009.

"This is nothing," Rouhani said in a statement on the presidency website.

"Our nation will deal with this minority who chant slogans against the law and people's wishes, and insult the sanctities and values of the revolution."

Pro-regime rallies were held across several towns and cities. 

Rouhani came to power in 2013 promising to mend the economy and ease social tensions, but high living costs and a 12 percent unemployment rate have left many feeling that progress is too slow. 

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