Iran protests: Citizens told to avoid ‘illegal gatherings’

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International desk, December 30: The Iranian government has told people to avoid “illegal gatherings” in the wake of two days of angry anti-establishment protests in the country.

Scores have been arrested in protests over corruption and living standards.

Anonymous social media posts have urged further action across Iran on Saturday.

But Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli urged people “not to participate in these illegal gatherings as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens”.

The Iranian authorities are blaming anti-revolutionaries and agents of foreign powers for the outbreak of anti-establishment protest.

In America, the Trump administration warned Iran overnight that the world was watching its response.

Meanwhile, thousands of pro-government demonstrators attended rallies on Saturday.

These official rallies were organised in advance of the anti-government protests, to mark the eighth anniversary of the suppression of major street protests.

First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has suggested that government opponents are behind the protests, according to comments reported by state broadcaster IRIB.

He said: “Some incidents in the country these days are on the pretext of economic problems, but it seems there is something else behind them. They think by doing this they harm the government, but it will be others who ride the wave.”

The governor-general of Tehran said that any such gatherings would be firmly dealt with by the police, who are out in force on the main roads.

“The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter.

The same tweet later appeared on President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

The US State Department urged all nations “to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption”.

Source: Agencies