“The slogans raised in the protests were 30 percent economical, 70 percent political, and 75% of the people sympathized with the demonstrators in 80 Iranian cities,” the Interior Ministry stated in its report.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Jannati, who heads the the Assembly of Experts, the council body charged with choosing Iran’s Supreme Leader, hinted in comments on Tuesday, that regime officials are concerned about the recent protests which were directly related to the worsening living conditions in the country. “When economic conditions worsen, the poor starts protesting, they cannot withstand poverty,” said Jannati, who added, “I am concerned about what will happen in the coming years, we have to start to listen to the people and their pain from now, we should not isolate ourselves from the citizens. The living conditions are very bad.”
Khamenei has appointed Jannati to various positions, including the head of the Expediency Discernment Council, the imam of Friday prayers in Tehran, and the head of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Jannati is considered one of Khamenei’s closest associates.
In his first response to the protests in Iran, Jannati said, “Social media is a distaster.” He said that “things would not have gone so far if the regime had confronted the social media platforms,” and added, “It was possible to control these sites, it could not be entirely prohibited, but we could reduce its speed.”
The protests that began on December 28th, were initially concerned with unemployment and rising cost of basic necessities. They quickly transformed into an uprising of the people, who demanded the overthrow of the regime and the resignation of Supreme Leader Khamenei.
At least 22 people are known to have been killed during the protests, and according to reports from inside the country, 5,000 were arrested. The status of many of the detainees remains unknown, and it is believed that seven people who were arrested died in jail under mysterious circumstances. However, the regime in Iran has admitted to the death of only two protesters, alleging that they committed suicide while in custody.