World News

Rouhani says more than economy triggered Iran protests

Rouhani says more than economy triggered Iran protests

The unrest spread to more than 80 cities and rural towns late last month as thousands of young and working class Iranians voiced anger at corruption, unemployment, and a deepening gap between rich and poor in the biggest anti-government demonstrations since 2009.

The official news website of the Iranian parliament,, quoted Mahmoud Sadeghi of Tehran as saying that different security and intelligence forces detained the protesters, making it hard to know the exact number of detainees.

The House "stands with the people of Iran that are engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive, corrupt regime", and condemns the government's "serious human rights abuses against the Iranian people", the resolution stated.

The number is far higher than the 450 people Iranian authorities previously said were detained. Sadeghi's figure of arrested offered Tuesday would mean almost 10 percent of those who demonstrated were arrested.

Iranian authorities have said that the protests are waning.

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Protests over food prices and other economic problems began December 28 in Iran's second-largest city of Mashhad, where the provincial government of the northern region of the city said 85 percent of detainees there were released after signing a pledge not to re-offend. He added that there would be more releases from detention, except for the main instigators of the riots who will be "dealt with seriously".

On Monday, state-run Aftab News reported that Sina Ghanbari died in custody after being held in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison along with hundreds of other protesters.

In recent days, government supporters have held several mass rallies across the country to oppose the unrest.

The new figures come as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the country had struggled for 40 years against attacks on "the revolution" and would not be daunted now.

"Iran's regime claims to support democracy, but when its own people express their aspirations for better lives and an end to injustice, it once again shows its true brutal nature", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.