US backs ‘peaceful protests’ in Iran


The U.S. expressed its support Sunday for the Iranian people in their peaceful protests against the government.

“We condemn the lethal force and severe communications restrictions used against demonstrators,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

“Tehran has fanatically pursued nuclear weapons and missile programs, and supported terrorism, turning a proud nation into another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks on a crusade for personal power and riches,” she added.

Demonstrations have broken out across Iran since Friday after the government imposed petrol rationing and raised fuel prices.

One person was killed Saturday in demonstrations against the government’s decision to hike petrol prices, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Protesters attempted to set a fuel depot on fire in the central city of Sirjan but were thwarted by security forces, Governor Mohammad Mahmoudabadi said.

He said the Iranian authorities were still seeking to determine the cause of the protester’s death.

Mahmoudabadi said order has been restored in the city after the intervention of security forces. He called on people to avoid joining what he described as “unlicensed” protests.

Later on Saturday, demonstrators blocked roads to and from the capital Tehran.

According to local sources, protests are ongoing in several provinces, including Tehran, Fars and Isfahan.

Iranian state television said protesters in Shiraz set two gas stations and two police vehicles on fire.

They also blocked main streets and damaged public buildings in the city and destroyed security cameras, fire trucks and vehicles.

Iran’s Chief Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri warned that those behind the protests will face the judicial process.

Iran has been hit hard by the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions last year after President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar
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