Iranian People Continue Protests; Trump Expresses Support

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country’s people have the right to protest and criticize but that such actions must be for the good — and rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s backing of demonstrators.

 Rouhani first comments since protests against the condition of Iran’s economy started on Dec. 28, were reported by the semi-official ISNA news agency following an Iranian cabinet meeting in Tehran. Earlier on Sunday, Iran restricted social media access, drawing a fresh rebuke from Trump.

The government won’t tolerate damage to public property and protesters who cause social disruption, Rouhani said, adding that demonstrations shouldn’t make the public fear for their safety.

Rouhani said Trump — who tweeted that the U.S. is watching “very closely” for human rights violations during the protests — has no right to show sympathy for Iranians after branding them terrorists a few months ago.

 The government and the people must “work hand-in-hand” and “as partners,” and concerns about household incomes, corruption and transparency in state institutions must be addressed, he added.

Earlier, Iranian police arrested about 200 people in the capital following weekend protests. Authorities restricted access to Iran’s most popular social-media platform in response to one of the biggest shows of dissent against the country’s leadership in years.

Trump posted a separate Twitter message on Sunday after Rouhani’s remarks that Iran’s response was “Not good!”

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