Violence Could Render Rightful Economic Demands Self-Defeating

Violence Could Render Rightful Economic Demands Self-DefeatingViolence Could Render Rightful Economic Demands Self-Defeating

A lawmaker reasserted the people's right to freedom of expression and assembly but warned against resorting to violence in the ongoing protests, which he said could set back the economic reforms launched by the government.

"Such unrest might harm the move the government has begun to bring economic growth. This would send a negative signal about calm and security in both local and foreign investment sectors, while one of the main ways to generate employment is to boost production and investment," Mahmoud Sadeqi told ISNA on Monday.

"But I think first the officials, from the lowest to highest ranks, should exercise restraint in the face of protests, recognize popular demands and be accountable."  

Crowds of protestors have taken to the streets in about a dozen Iranian cities to demonstrate against what they see as poor economic management of the country and corruption.

The demonstrations initially erupted in the northeast city of Mashhad on Thursday and soon spread to the capital Tehran and other cities.

According to Iranian media reports, at least four people have been killed in the cities of Dorud and Izeh, in the west and southwest of Iran respectively, where protests turned violent, leading to clashes between marchers and police forces.

In his first public reaction to the demonstrations on Sunday evening, Rouhani reiterated his government is open to criticism but appealed to the protestors to refrain from violence.

  Common Cause

Praising Rouhani's stance, Sadeqi said, "Our political and legal systems recognize the nation's right to [peaceful] demonstrations and it should also be recognized in practice by the authorities… As the president said the people's rights must be respected and the outcome of the protests must be in the interest of the people."

"Whatever the varying motives of protestors, what remains a common cause is national interests and all should be wary of the people who do not care about our national interests," the lawmaker stressed.

Police and security forces appear to have shown restraint against violent demonstrators.

Despite improvements in economic indexes since 2013, when Rouhani was first elected, the growth has been too slow to create tangible effects in living standards and failed to live up to the expectations raised by Rouhani's bloated electoral promises for economic and social reforms.

Frustrations with the Rouhani government were also fueled by the outcome of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal negotiated on his watch with major powers.

The pact, often touted by Rouhani as a major diplomatic and economic breakthrough, has failed to deliver the highly-awaited benefits promised by the beleaguered president.


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