Stability in Uzbekistan Important to Iran, Spokesman Says after Unrest in Karakalpakstan

Stability in Uzbekistan Important to Iran, Spokesman Says after Unrest in Karakalpakstan

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry described the recent unrest in Karakalpakstan autonomous region as a domestic affair of Uzbekistan, saying the Islamic Republic attaches great significance to stability and security in the brotherly country.

In a statement on Tuesday, Nasser Kanaani said Iran is closely monitoring the course of developments and the recent unrest in parts of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Describing the developments as a domestic affair of Uzbekistan, he expressed confidence that the government of the friendly and brotherly country will soon resolve the issue in the interests of the noble Uzbek people.

He added that stability and security in Uzbekistan are of specific significance to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the region.

Protests in the autonomous Karakalpakstan region turned deadly last week, according to the government, as Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev faced growing calls to allow an independent investigation into the violence.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Friday in opposition to proposed constitutional reforms that would have refused the province, which borders Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea, the right to secede.

Uzbek authorities said on Monday that 18 people were killed and 243 were wounded during the protests. The national guard said 516 people were detained but have since been released.

Mirziyoyev, who took office in 2016, has said there were “civilians and law enforcement officers” among the dead.

The government has said protesters marched through the provincial capital of Nukus on Friday. They accused protesters of throwing stones, starting fires and attacking police, as well as trying to storm local government buildings.

A joint statement by the province’s police, parliament and cabinet said that “provocateurs” had attempted “to seize state institutions… split the society and destabilize the socio-political situation in Uzbekistan”.

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