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Scholars Should Help Explore Roots of Recent Protests

The president says blocking access to social media tools does not solve any problem and people should be educated on how to use them properly
President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the closing ceremony of the 9th Farabi International Festival in Tehran on Jan. 14.President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the closing ceremony of the 9th Farabi International Festival in Tehran on Jan. 14.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that human sciences should be used as a tool to study the roots of the recent protests in the country and other issues facing society.

“There were protests in the country, which were handled well by security forces, and the issue is over. But the [real] work starts today,” Rouhani said at the closing ceremony of the 9th Farabi International Festival in Tehran, the president’s official website reported.

“Sociologists and social psychologists and those active in human and Islamic sciences should analyze and study the recent events,” the president noted at the event honoring humanities and Islamic sciences scholars. Rouhani was referring to the recent demonstrations that erupted across the country over economic conditions, particularly a surge in prices of basic food supplies.

He said that human sciences serve as a “compass” for a society and can help a country grow in all areas.  

The realities on the ground should be taken into account, he noted, adding that those who express their discontent should not be insulted.    

“Some came to protest, and some took advantage of the protests. However, they should not all be treated the same,” Rouhani said.    

The president stated that even those who hijacked the protests should receive a fair trial.

  Social Media

He said that blocking access to social media tools does not solve any problem and people should be educated on how to use them properly.

Iranian authorities restricted access to the photo sharing and messaging apps Instagram and Telegram during the protests.

Commenting on the foreign interference in the protests, Rouhani said, “Fortunately, the Americans failed in regard to both Iran’s internal affairs and the JCPOA.”

He described the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by Iran and world powers in 2015 over Tehran’s nuclear program as a long-lasting victory for Iran.

The US efforts to undermine the nuclear deal over the past few days bore no fruit and the international community, except a number of countries, aligned against Washington, Rouhani added.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he would extend a waiver on nuclear sanctions against Iran for the last time to give the United States and its European allies a final chance to amend the agreement, according to Reuters.

Washington also announced sanctions against 14 Iranian individuals and entities, including Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, over alleged human rights violations.

However, the European Union, China, Russia and a number of other countries voiced support for the nuclear pact.

The Iranian president said Iran’s achievements regarding the nuclear deal will never fade away and cannot be undermined.  

The Islamic Republic showed to the world that even complicated regional and international issues can be resolved at the negotiating table, Rouhani said.

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