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Iran announces that hundreds of arrested rioters released

Iranian officials denied that the death of a young man in Tehran's infamous Evin prison was linked to recent protests
ATTA KENARE (AFP/File)
Iranian prosecutor stated that 440 protesters have been released in Tehran alone

Iranian officials announced on Sunday that hundreds of people arrested in the recent anti-government protests had been released, whilst also acknowledging that around 25 people had lost their lives amid the unrest.

Prosecutor Abbas Jafar Dolatabadi said 440 “arrested rioters” have been released in Tehran alone, according to the Times of Israel. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying that only 55 people remained in detention.

"Twenty-five people, ordinary citizens and our own forces, were killed during the recent troubles," said Ejeie, according to the Mizanonline news agency. "None were killed by shots from the security forces because they were ordered not to use their weapons," he added.

The protests, which were viewed as the largest challenge to the regime since the 2009 Green Movement demonstraions, began on December 28 over economic issues before quickly turning against the Islamic republic as a whole.

Since taking power in 2013, Rouhani has sought to clean up the banking sector and kick-start the economy, but many say progress has been too slow. There has been particular anger at welfare cuts and fuel price increases in the latest budget announced earlier this month.

ATTA KENARE (AFP)

Various figures have come from official sources in Iran about the number of people arrested, with reformist lawmaker Mahmoud Sadeghi putting the total at 3,700. Police have previously said they have released many of the hundreds arrested during the unrest, but that the main instigators were "in the hands of the judiciary".

Last week US President Donald Trump expressed its concern over the arrests of “thousands of Iranian citizens” who were “engaging in peaceful protests,” and urged for their release. Simultaneously slamming the regime for reports of detainees being “tortured or killed” referring to the “true brutal nature” of Tehran.

Iran has since lashed out at the US House of Representatives after lawmakers adopted a resolution backed by 415 to 2 supporting the protests, strongly condemning “interference” in Iran’s internal affairs.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also accused the US, alongside "the Zionists", of inciting the demonstrations. Tehran’s deputy provincial governor Mohsen Hamedani said the people were, “under the influence of propaganda” and were “unaware that the majority of these calls to protest came from abroad.”

The government has said a total of 42,000 people participated in the unrest -- a figure that is hard to verify due to limited information from the provinces where most of the unrest took place.

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Much more pressure must be applied on the ya ya & the colluding Europeans.

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