House passes Latta-backed resolution backing Iranian protesters

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Mentioning the risks of single-product export for the country's economy, the President added: "Without a doubt, creating variety in non-oil exports further decreases economic vulnerability".

Echoing some of his campaign rhetoric, Rouhani said on Monday people should be allowed to criticize all Iranian officials, with no exception.

Washington has engaged in a fiery exchange of words with Tehran over USA use of social media to encourage Iranians to protest.

Tillerson also criticized the European Union for failing to support protesters in Iran as strongly as the United States has. Violence that broke out at several protests killed 22 people after unrest spilled into more than 80 cities across Iran.

"If the United States does not meet its commitment in the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], the Islamic Republic of Iran would take decisions that might affect its current cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency", Akbar said.

Along with Ahmadinejad, a prominent Shiite cleric and politician Mehdi Karroubi and former Iranian prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi were also detained and put under house arrest. Weeks before the protests, Rouhani publicly complained that large parts of the government budget went to religious institutions, largely seen as power bases of the hard-liners, seeking to deflect blame over the economy.

"It would be a misrepresentation (of events) and also an insult to Iranian people to say they only had economic demands", Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

Protesters denounced the money going to support these groups rather than helping people in Iran.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Iranian officials have blamed the flare-up on foreign "enemies". He made the remarks during a speech commemorating protests against the Shah of Iran in 1978.

The US and Israel have expressed support for the protests, which began on December 28 in Iran's second largest city, Mashhad, but deny Iranian government allegations that they fomented them. In a series of statements and appeals issued to the people of Iran, the party has called all the "progressive and freedom-loving forces of Iran to increase their presence in the protest movement of the masses more than ever before". Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed Sunday to have suppressed uprisings, but The Wall Street Journal reported that calls for Sunday protests continued to emerge from social media.

As 2017 came to a close, a groundswell of Iranian protesters captured worldwide attention. That is the essence of American leadership, and as the people of Iran now know, the United States is leading on the world stage for freedom once again.

These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people.

Kahrizak was a notorious prison in south Tehran where at least three protesters were tortured to death during mass demonstrations in 2009.

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