Hassan Rouhani defends citizens’ right to protest, denounces violence

Tehran: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the people of Iran were free to protest peacefully, but rejected protesting by violence.

These comments by Rouhani come after his first public appearance at the Parliament, following days of anti-government protests that have rocked the country for the past four days now, as reported by Mehr news agency.

The Iranian President, while addressing the Parliament, said, “Criticism is different to violence and destroying public property. The government bodies should provide space for legal criticism for the citizens and protest.”

He also added, “Iranians understand the sensitive situation of Iran and the entire region and will act based on their national interests.”

Rouhani trashed United States President Donald Trump’s comments in support of the protesters and said, “those who called Iranians terrorists have no business sympathising with our nation.”

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (U.N), Nikki Haley, also said the Iranian government was “being tested by its own citizens”.

Protesters in different cities of Iran have raised anti-government slogans over alleged corruption and rising prices that have been plaguing the people of the country for four straight days. Scores of protesters have been arrested. Also, three protesters were reportedly shot dead yesterday by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in central Iran. (ANI)