Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

European Union to invite Iran FM for talks over protests: Berlin

European Union to invite Iran FM for talks over protests: Berlin

The president said people should be permitted to criticize all officials without exception. Iranian officials say the unrest resulted in 22 deaths. Critics of Iran's government used social media during the recent protests.

At least 22 people have been killed and 1,700 arrested in the government's crackdown against the protests that began on December 28. They were the largest demonstrations in Iran since 2009.

They said later that low-level protesters, particularly students, are to be released in waves while the leaders are to be punished. More than 1,000 people were reported arrested.

"No one is innocent, and people are allowed to criticize everyone", he said.

Deputy head of Iran's judiciary Hamid Shahriari. "We [politicians] must accept that we are now sitting in a glass house".

Earlier in the day, the Iranian Foreign Ministry warned that Tehran would give a harsh response to the possible U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal. The protests spread to more than 80 cities and towns.

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CIA chief Mike Pompeo denied on January 7 that his agency had any role in the protests, but predicted the unrest "is not behind us".

Retired U.S. military officers, members of Congress and former U.S. ambassadors were among 52 U.S. national security experts who signed a letter released on Monday urging President Donald Trump's administration not to jeopardize the worldwide nuclear deal with Iran.

They demand that the government deal with problems facing Iranians at home instead. "You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!"

"Together with the EU's foreign policy chief (Federica Mogherini), we agreed to invite the Iranian foreign minister, if possible next week", Gabriel told German public broadcaster ZDF, without giving further details.

On Friday, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson said in an interview with the AP news agency that the US lawmakers were working on a draft legislation that would amend the conditions, enabling Washington to remain in the Iranian nuclear deal. It competes with Saudi Arabia for influence in the Middle East.

On Monday, he called for lifting restrictions on social media.

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