Germany urges Iran to respect ‘legitimate’ protests

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Berlin on Monday urged Iran to respect the “legitimate” protests against a petrol prike hike, and open talks with the demonstrators.

“It is legitimate and deserving of our respect when people courageously air their economic and political grievances, as is currently happening in Iran,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer.

“The Iranian government should respond to the current protests with a willingness to engage in dialogue,” she added.

The French foreign ministry separately said it was “closely following” the events in Iran.

France reiterates the need “to respect freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

At least two people have died in violent riots in Iran since Friday, sparked by a decision to impose petrol price hikes and rationing in the sanctions-hit country.

Major roads have been blocked, banks torched and public buildings attacked in the nationwide unrest.

Footage of the violence showing masked young men on debris-strewn streets setting buildings ablaze has been aired on state television, which rarely shows any signs of dissent in the country.

Germany on Sunday tightened its travel advice for Iran, warning citizens to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings and refrain from expressing political opinions to strangers.

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