As a wave of demonstrations to protest the economic conditions in Iran sweeps the country, the global community is urging the Iranian government to respect human rights after two protesters were killed and authorities temporarily cut off access to two social media applications, while also demanding that world leaders not “exploit the current protests for their own benefit.”
“The vast majority of us yearn for an Iranian government that respects the human rights and dignity of Iranians everywhere, and democratically represents its people. Ultimately, like any other country, it is up to Iranians living in Iran to decide their country’s destiny.”
—Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council
The Iranian government has blocked access to the Facebook-owned photo and video app Instagram as well as Telegram, “a popular messaging app used by activists to organize and publicize the protests now roiling the Islamic Republic,” the Associated Press reports.
Government officials are saying about 200 people have been arrested since the protests began Thursday, and confirmed to the AP that two demonstrators died at a Saturday night rally in Doroud, a city about 200 miles southwest of Tehran in Iran’s western Lorestan province.
While police crack down on demonstrations nationwide, Reuters reports that the motivation for protests has expanded beyond frustration over economic hardships. Protesters reportedly have also “chanted slogans in support of political prisoners,” alleged and condemned government corruption, “expressed anger over costly interventions in Syria and Iraq,” and “begun to call on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.”
Responding to the protests, National Iranian American Council president Trita Parsi said, “We reiterate our call to the Iranian government to uphold its international human rights obligations, including to allow the right to free expression, to respect the dignity and safety of every Iranian, and to refrain from violence.”
“The vast majority of us yearn for an Iranian government that respects the human rights and dignity of Iranians everywhere, and democratically represents its people,” Parsi added, while noting that “ultimately, like any other country, it is up to Iranians living in Iran to decide their country’s destiny.”
Parsi also vowed to hold accountable other governments and politcians who may attempt to use the protests for their own gain. “As Iranian Americans we will also work to ensure that neither our government in the U.S., nor others in the region or beyond, undermine the safety of the Iranian people or exploit the current protests for their own benefit,” he said.
Middle Eastern expert Juan Cole called out U.S. President Donald Trump for his comments on the protests, which include a tweet Sunday morning warning that the “USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!” In a piece published Sunday, Cole outlined how Trump’s actions and policies indicate that he “doesn’t actually care about Iranian protesters.”
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT