UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday called for the release of innocent people arrested during protests against fuel prices last month.
Iran has yet to reveal the total number of people detained by security forces while cracking down on demonstrations that saw buildings burned and shops looted.
“Of course some people who were arrested are innocent and should be released,” Rowhani said in a speech on state television.
“There are some protesters who committed offenses, not crimes. One of them set fire to a frame. We should not keep them in custody because of what they did.”
“It is true that what they did is wrong, but we should not be tough with these people.”
However, he said those who used weapons or committed serious crimes during the violence should be treated separately.
“These criminals must be dealt with in accordance with the law,” he said.
He added that among those “those who reached the protests in an orderly manner.” He said their “confessions” would be broadcast “in the future, and you will see that they have planned for more than two years.”
“Their masters abroad have told them that the time has come, implement it now,” he said.
Iran has blamed the violence on thugs backed by its arch-foes the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
She also accused the exiled monarchists and the People’s Mujahideen of Iran, a former rebel group in exile that Tehran considers a “terrorist” group, of being behind the violence.
Authorities have not yet released the overall death toll in the violence.
London-based Amnesty International said on Monday that at least 208 people were killed, but Iran dismissed the reports as “pure lies”.
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