TEHRAN – Complaints voiced by people who took part in December’s protests across Iran went beyond economic issues and the government must take all of those concerns seriously, President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday.
“The people have many things to say” and officials need to listen, he told a press conference in this capital.
The demonstrations began in late December, spurred by rising prices and anger over corruption, but as the unrest spread, the focus shifted to non-economic matters and to criticism of the Islamic Republic itself.
Some of the protests resulted in violence and 25 people were killed, while roughly 1,000 were arrested.
The president said that his government was responding to popular demands by trying to create jobs and reduce poverty and insisted that politicians must “hear and apply” the requests of young people, who make up 70 percent of the Iranian population.
Rouhani, who began his second presidential term in August after being re-elected with 57 percent of the vote, has promised economic improvement as well as an expansion of civil liberties.