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Iran Thornberry warns against rushing to conclusions about Iranian protests

SHADOW Foreign Secretary Emily Thorberry urged Iranian authorities to show restraint today as protests against the government continued.

She said the escalating violence must stop and called on the authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations to take place and for dialogue over political and economic issues.

Ms Thornberry warned: “The picture surrounding the protests in Iran remains highly uncertain and Western politicians should be cautious in claiming to understand their origins, organisation or objectives when many Iranian experts are still struggling to do so.”

The demonstrations, which began on Thursday over Iran’s weak economy and rocketing food prices, are the largest the country has seen since 2009.

Nine people were killed during clashes last night, 10 the night before and two on Saturday, according to Iranian state television. A police officer is also reported to have died.

However Iranian communists warned that the state was using the deaths to justify increasingly repressive measures.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard officer threatened that further protests would be crushed with an “iron fist.”

However Ms Thornberry added: “One thing is absolutely clear. The escalation of violence must be stopped and it is particularly incumbent on the Iranian authorities to show restraint in their policing, allow peaceful, democratic protests to proceed and enable a political dialogue so that all political and economic grievances can be raised and resolved.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on Iran to engage in “meaningful debate” about the “legitimate and important” issues raised by protesters amid ongoing unrest.

Mr Johnson, who visited Tehran last month, said Britain was closely watching events in the Islamic republic.

He added: “As we enter the 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, people should be able to have freedom of expression and to demonstrate peacefully within the law.

“We regret the loss of life that has occurred in the protests in Iran and call on all concerned to refrain from violence and for international obligations on human rights to be observed.”


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