In his first official reaction to the recent protests across Iran, Rouhani on Sunday lashed out at US President Donald Trump for sending a message of sympathy to Iranian people, saying, “The guy in the US who pretends to be sympathizing with Iran has forgotten that he called us a terrorist nation a few months ago.”
Speaking to a cabinet session, Rouhani stressed that Donald Trump is entirely against Iran and is not allowed to feel pity for Iranian people.
He further underlined people’s right to express their criticism and protest, but at the same time urged them to avoid vandalism and damaging public properties.
Rouhani went on to say, “Based on the Iranian Constitution, people are totally free to raise their criticism and even protests. But these protests should be raised in a way that end up in better living conditions for people.”
He stressed that resolving some of these problems is not easy and takes time, adding that the nation and government should join hands to settle them.
People are not just criticizing economic conditions, Rouhani noted, adding that they are also protesting corruption and want transparency in the legislature, the judiciary, the government, and other bodies.
It is inaccurate to say that all protests are against the government, the Iranian president noted, criticizing certain conservatives who say the government’s performance is people’s main problem.
“People demand more serious fight against corruption and protest lack of enough transparency in certain issues,” he added.
He also noted that grounds must be prepared by all state bodies for protests, even rallies and legal gatherings, but we should not let them disrupt other people’s security.
Rouhani stressed that protests should be raised in a logical way, adding that if protest rallies disrupt people’s daily lives, investment, business, travel, and make enemies happy, then the protesters are using a wrong approach.
He also pointed out that the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB or state TV) is a place where all people should be able to feel their presence. “It belongs to entire nation and they should all be able to express themselves in the national TV.”
The Iranian president further asked all officials to explain to people all the problems they face immediately.
If the avian flu breaks out (and egg price hikes), they should publicize the issue immediately, not after a week. […] They should have imported the eggs sooner not to let the prices go up, he added.
He concluded his remarks by asking people and youths to be more vigilant under current circumstances of region and country. “We shouldn’t create an atmosphere in Iran which lets enemies take advantage.”