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Protests were not just about economic grievances:Rouhani
Iran President says people had political and social demands

  

Protests that shook Iran were not just aimed at the economy, President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday, remarks suggesting the real targets were powerful conservatives opposed to his plans to expand individual freedoms at home and promote détente abroad.

Mr. Rouhani also called for the lifting of curbs on social media used by anti-government protesters.

“It would be a misrepresentation (of events) and also an insult to Iranian people to say they only had economic demands,” Mr. Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

“People had economic, political and social demands.” Iran’s influential Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday the security forces had put an end to a week of unrest fomented by what it called foreign enemies.

The protests, which began over economic hardships suffered by the young and working class, spread to more than 80 cities and towns and resulted in 22 deaths and more than 1,000 arrests, according to Iranian officials.

Echoing some of his campaign rhetoric, Mr. Rouhani said on Monday that people should be allowed to criticise all Iranian officials, with no exception.

“No one is innocent and people are allowed to criticise everyone,” said Mr. Rouhani.

Iranian Vice-President Masoumeh Ebtekar tweeted on Monday that Mr. Rouhani has insisted that all detained students should be released.
‘U.S. pullout from deal’

Also, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi on Monday warned the world on Monday to prepare for the possible withdrawal of the U.S. from the landmark nuclear deal agreed in 2015.

The next deadline for U.S. President Donald Trump to waive sanctions falls on Friday.

A withdrawal by the U.S. will lead to an “appropriate and heavy response”, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is due to travel for talks with the European parties to the deal — Britain, France, Germany and the EU — at the end of the week.
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