EU Calls on Iran’s Security Forces to Exercise “Maximum Restraint” in Handling Protests
Violence “Unacceptable,” Free Flow of Information Must Be Ensured
The European Union’s External Action Committee, which manages the EU’s diplomatic relations with other countries and conducts EU foreign and security policy for the 28-country bloc, released a statement today, November 21, calling on the Iran’s security forces to exercise “maximum restraint” in handling the protests throughout the country, noting that “any violence is unacceptable.”
Protests broke out across Iran on November 15 after the government abruptly raised gasoline prices. Videos shared on social media showed security forces firing tear gas canisters and using water cannons to disperse the protesters while attacking them with batons. The state’s violence against the protesters has included the firing of live ammunition at unarmed civilians. There is no definitive information on how many protesters have been killed, though Amnesty International has reported it has credible reports of over 100 deaths, and no reliable information on arrests, although the Fars News Agency, affiliated with Iran’s security establishment, reported the arrest of “about 1,000” people. The authorities have shut down the internet in the country since November 16.
The EU Committee said that “the rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be guaranteed” and that the Iranian authorities must “ensure the free flow of information and access to the internet.” The Committee also stressed that “socio-economic challenges should be addressed through “inclusive dialogue.” The full statement follows below.
Statement by the Spokesperson on the developments in Iran
Brussels, 21/11/2019 – 08:57
The protests in several Iranian cities over the past days have, according to reports, led to serious loss of life and left many people injured. We convey our condolences to the families of victims and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.
Socio-economic challenges should be addressed through inclusive dialogue and not through the use of violence. We expect Iran’s security forces to exercise maximum restraint in handling the protests and for protestors to demonstrate peacefully. Any violence is unacceptable. The rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be guaranteed.
We also expect the Iranian authorities to ensure the free flow of information and access to the internet.