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Iran protests

US criticizes Iranian regime for violence against protesters

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The United States criticized the Iranian regime for the way it has dealt with protests that have rocked the country in recent weeks.

“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,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

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Protests sparked by a water crisis have been taking place in Iran since July 15. The protests began in the oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province and have since spread to other parts of the country.

“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,” Price said.

The State Department called on the Iranian government to allow protesters to exercise their right to freedom of expression, including via the Internet.

“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,” Price said.

Read more: Iran protests spread to Tehran with chants against supreme leader