EU to Invite Zarif for Talks over Iran Protests: German FM
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The European Union plans to invite Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks about the recent protests in the country against high prices, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
"Together with the EU's foreign policy chief (Federica Mogherini), we agreed to invite the Iranian foreign minister, if possible next week," Gabriel told German public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday.
"We very quickly affirmed that we support the freedom to demonstrate and that the state should support this," he added.
At the same time, Gabriel said Berlin would not follow the lead of US President Donald Trump, who pledged to help Iranians "take back" their government.
Germany and France have "warned against attempts at instrumentalizing the domestic conflicts in Iran," he added.
The US on Friday took the Iran protests to the UN Security Council, where deep divisions emerged over the issue, with Russia arguing the demonstrations posed no threat to international peace and security.
Last week, peaceful protests over rising prices and economic problems broke out in some Iranian cities, but the unauthorized gatherings turned violent after a number of opportunists, some of them armed, vandalized public property and launched attacks on police stations and government buildings.
Siding with the rioters were a number of US officials, including Trump.
Iranian security officials say they have hard evidence that the protests were directed from abroad.
They say many rioters arrested in the unrest have been trained by the MKO or had links with Takfiri terrorist groups.
Following the unrest, people held several demonstrations across the country to condemn the violent riots and acts of vandalism, and voice support for the Islamic Republic’s Establishment.
Iranian officials maintain that people have the right to stage protests to express their opinions as long as rallies comply with the legal conditions.