Published: 4 January 2018 Author: Stefan Talmon
On 28 December 2017, protests over food price rises and corruption began in the north-eastern Iranian city of Mashhad. Protests quickly spread across the whole country and took on a wider anti-government sentiment. On 30 December 2017, protesters at Tehran University called for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and there were violent clashes with police in multiple cities. On 1 January 2018, it was reported that protesters were attacking police stations and that at least 12 people, including a policeman, had been killed and hundreds had been arrested. In the evening on that day, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel commented as follows on the protests:
“I am very concerned by the latest developments in Iran and by the reports of further deaths among the demonstrators and the large number of arrests. We call on the Iranian Government to respect the demonstrators’ freedom of assembly and their right to voice their opinions freely and peacefully.
Following the confrontations over the past few days, it is all the more important for all sides to refrain from taking any violent action.”