While most EU member states have stated a reserved position, urging for an end of violence while warning of any external interference that could deteriorate the situation, the European Commission announced it was closely following the ongoing demonstrations across Iran and warned the Islamic Republic that peaceful demonstrations and freedom of expression are fundamental rights that apply to every country, with no exception.” She said, “I would also then like to recall that yesterday the High Representative Vice-President Mogherini issued a statement on behalf of the European Union on the situation in Iran and aligning that the EU is closely following the ongoing demonstrations in the country, the increase of violence and the unacceptable losses of human lives. For the EU, human rights have always been a core issue in our relationship with Iran, and peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression are fundamental rights that apply to every country, and Iran is no exception,” the EU’s Commission Spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Chief called on the Islamic Republic of Iran to rein in security forces to avoid further violence and respect the right of protesters to freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. A spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed that their office had received reports that more than 20 people had been killed and hundreds more arrested across Iran in the past week alone. She noted, “Well I think for us it’s important that the Iranian authorities respect the rights of the people who have been demonstrating, the people who have been detained and that includes guaranteeing their right to life. And what we’re doing is that we’re urging the authorities to make sure that security forces make a concerted effort to police protests with care, with proportionality and with due necessity in accordance with international law. There have been disturbing reports on violence and of deaths and we are urging the Iranian authorities to ensure that there are independent, thorough and effective investigations into all forms of violence that may have taken place” the Spokeswoman for the OHCHR’ High Commissioner said.
The protests, which began over economic hardships, have taken on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of young people calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down. The demand, however, has prompted a harsh crackdown by the regime, which has reportedly arrested thousands of protesters since the rallies started – ten days ago. Iranian officials in Tehran vowed to use all measures necessary to crack down on protesters, as the rallies are the biggest demonstrations recorded in the Islamic Republic since unrest in 2009 that followed the disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.