Accountability Key to Addressing Popular Demands

Accountability Key to Addressing Popular DemandsAccountability Key to Addressing Popular Demands

A lawmaker called for action on the part of the three branches of government to ease the economic pain of the people and effectively crack down on rampant corruption, which are seen as the underlying causes of recent anti-government rallies.

"Popular demands regarding the government's commitments, high prices and economic corruption are legitimate… The government should begin dealing with the unrest and be responsive to the people's demands because part of what happened on the streets could be blamed on the officials' inaction against corruption, a widening social divide and pervasive rent-seeking. Of course, the judiciary and Majlis should also get involved," Mohammad Dehqan said in a Friday talk with ICANA.

Crowds of protestors took 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 week-long demonstrations broke out in the northeast city of Mashhad on Dec. 28 and soon turned violent and spread to the capital Tehran and other cities. According to Iranian media reports, at least a dozen people were killed and about four hundred were arrested during the protests.

President Hassan Rouhani has said his government is open to criticism but appealed to the protestors to refrain from violence.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the violent unrest is the work of hostile foreign powers.

"In the developments of the recent days, enemies of Iran joined hands to create trouble for the Islamic system, utilizing various means at their disposal, including money, weapons, politics and intelligence services," the Leader said.

Hawkish US President Donald Trump has seized upon the protests to push his policy of regime change in Iran.

"Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!" Trump alleged in one of the many rhetoric-laden messages he has twitted on Iran's demonstrations.

  Wake-Up Call

Dehqan said the recent developments raised the alarm for the government on an urgent need to address popular demands.

"Authorities should perform intra-system surgeries to bolster the campaign to counter corruption and create economic prosperity. This would provide the masses with satisfaction and would prevent the enemies of the country and nation form exploiting the people's discontent with government officials," Dehqan added.

Thousands of Iranians marched in cities across the country on Wednesday and Thursday to show support for government's call for non-violence, in what marked the end of the anti-government protests.


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