Protests in Iran that began with a water shortage — owing to drought and governmental mismanagement and neglect — in the Khuzestan province have now spread across various cities including Tehran, Karaj and Tabriz. The Iranian people are now putting a spotlight not only on their unmet needs, but also their unfulfilled aspirations for respect for human rights — rights to which individuals the world over are entitled.
The Iranian people have a right to voice their frustrations and hold their government accountable, but we have seen disturbing reports that security forces fired on protesters, resulting in multiple deaths. We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protestors. We support the rights of Iranians to peacefully assemble and express themselves, without fear of violence and detention by security forces. We are also monitoring reports of internet slowdowns in the region.
We urge the Iranian government to allow its citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression and to freely access information, including via the Internet.