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Iran president makes 1st speech since protests

01 January, 2018, 03:08 | Author: Melinda Barton

Telegram's chief executive, Pavel Durov, confirmed that the app had been blocked, posting a statement on Twitter that said, "Iranian authorities started blocking Telegram in Iran today after we publicly refused to shut down channels of peaceful Iranian protesters". Two protesters were killed in Dorud in the province of Lorestan late Saturday during clashes with security forces, Habibollah Khojastehpour, deputy for political affairs for the province of Lorestan, said in an interview posted on the website of Iran's state broadcaster.

The Iranian government did not immediately comment.

On Saturday, Telegram had suspended the account of one Iranian channel, Amad News, saying it had violated the service's terms of use by calling for violence.

The protests have included chants and slogans against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the clerical leadership in power since 1979 revolution.

Rouhani said Sunday night that people have the right to protest, but those demonstrations should not make the public "feel concerned about their lives and security".

Travel restrictions have made it hard to confirm reports about the protests and postings on social media.

Overnight unrest in the capital Tehran was concentrated in a few major intersections, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.


In addition to the two deaths, which occurred in the western city of Dorud, hundreds of protesters have been arrested since Thursday.

The protests began in Mashhad against high living costs and the struggling economy before spreading quickly to other areas and turning against the Islamic regime as a whole.

Rouhani said that demonstrators had the right to protest the government, and he also acknowledged that some of the protesters' grievances were legitimate. He added, however, that the demonstrations should not devolve into violence or anti-government chants.

Authorities said Iranian security forces were not responsible for the deaths and instead blamed Sunni Muslim extremists and foreign actors.

"This gentleman in America, who is now trying to sympathise with our nation, appears to have forgotten that he called the Iranian nation terrorists several months ago", he was reported to have said.

Facebook itself has been banned in Iran since the 2009 protests that followed the re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism".

After four days of protests ranging from the capital's universities to the holy city of Qom, Iranians desperate for change were anxious about what might come next. Looks like they will not take it any longer. And he adds: "The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!"

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