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Protesters have a right to be heard: UN
January 04, 2018
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GENEVA: The UN human rights chief called on Iran on Wednesday to rein in security forces to avoid further violence and respect the right of protesters to freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement that more than 20 had been killed and hundreds arrested across Iran in the past week and he urged “thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence that have taken place.”

Protesters “have a right to be heard,” he said.

There must be “a concerted effort by the authorities to ensure that all security forces respond in a manner that is proportionate and strictly necessary, and fully in line with international law.”

An Iranian judicial official said on Wednesday that a European citizen was arrested in anti-government protests in Borujerd county in western Iran, but did not specify the nationality of the detainee.

“A European citizen was arrested in Borujerd county. The person had been trained by European intelligence services and was leading the rioters,” Hamidreza Abolhassani, head of Borujerd’s Justice Department was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

Washington continued to exert pressure on the Islamic republic, with its UN ambassador Nikki Haley calling for emergency Security Council talks to discuss the situation.

“The people of Iran are crying out for freedom,” she said at a news conference. “All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause.”

Tens of thousands gathered across Iran on Wednesday in a massive show of strength for the country’s Islamic rulers after days of deadly unrest, with state television showing vast crowds marching through several cities.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday that the unrest was at an end, and that a maximum of 15,000 people had taken part nationwide.

“Today we can announce the end of the sedition,” said Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Revolutionary Guards.

“There were a maximum of 1,500 people in each place and the number of trouble-makers did not exceed 15,000 people nationwide,” he said on the Guards’ website.

“A large number of the trouble-makers at the centre of the sedition, who received training from counter-revolutionaries have been arrested and there will be firm action against them.”

Jafari said the Guards, a parallel security force directly loyal to Khamenei, only intervened “in a limited way” in the provinces of Isfahan, Lorestan and Hamedan.

“The counter-revolutionaries intervened massively on social media,” Jafari said.

He said thousands were based abroad and trained by the United States, while internal “monarchists” and supporters of the exiled People’s Mujahideen opposition group were also involved.

“The lack of action” by Iranian officials to shut down online supporters of the unrest had “reinforced the troubles”, he said.

“But once restrictions were started, the troubles reduced.”

Chants of “Leader, we are ready” were heard as images showed thousands rallying in the cities of Qom, Ahvaz, Kermanshah and elsewhere.

The demonstrators waved Iranian flags and pictures of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“We offer the blood in our veins to our leader,” was another popular chant.

“The enemy is always looking for an opportunity and any crevice to infiltrate and strike the Iranian nation,” Khamenei said.

Agencies
 

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