Vigilant Iraqis Not to Let Opportunists Cash in on Unrest: Zarif

Anti-government protesters set fires and close a street during a demonstration in Baghdad on Oct. 3, 2019 / Photo by AP

Iran’s foreign minister says Iraqi people are vigilant enough to keep others from capitalizing on the current situation in the country.

Mohammad Javad Zarif noted that the vigilance of Iraqi citizens will prevent others from cashing in on their “legitimate problems,” which have also been recognized by the Iraqi government.

“We believe that Iraqi people are the owners of this country and their rights should be respected,” Zarif told ICANA on Wednesday.

Zarif’s comments came on the heels of the recent unrest in Iraq.

Iraqi officials say there are “malicious hands” behind the killing of both protesters and security forces during the recent spate of unrest in Baghdad and some other cities.

Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan confirmed that 104 people had been killed, including eight security officers, and more than 6,000 wounded in the protests.

Maan said the ministry was working with other government institutions to find out who was behind the killings. According to medical sources, the majority of protesters killed were struck by bullets.

The protests began last week, with demonstrators calling for better living conditions. The rallies soon turned into riots as some protesters started vandalizing public property and attempted to enter the Green Zone in the capital Baghdad — which houses government offices and foreign diplomatic missions.

On Saturday night, armed elements and violent rioters attempted to take over local TV stations in Baghdad after the government removed a days-long curfew.

Maan said protesters burned 51 public buildings and eight political party headquarters, but Iraqi security forces did not confront them.

According to the spokesman, most of those killed last Friday had been shot in the head or heart, a sign that skilled snipers had committed the killings.

   
   

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