Iranians free to express criticism, stage protest: Rouhani
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Iranian people are completely free to express their criticism of the government or stage protests according to the Constitution and citizenship rights, and in a way that would lead to the improvement of the country's conditions, Press TV reported.
Rouhani made the remarks while addressing a Cabinet session on Sunday as he pointed to recent gatherings in protest against economic conditions in a number of Iranian cities.
"We are a free nation and based on the Constitution and citizenship rights, people are completely free to express their criticism and even their protest," he said.
However, he added that the manner of expressing criticism and protest must lead to the improvement of the country's conditions and people's lives.
He emphasized that the settlement of some problems in the country was "not easy and takes time," calling for cooperation between the Iranian government and nation to solve those problems.
The Iranian people have the right to voice their criticism with regard to all affairs, Rouhani said, adding, "We believe that the government and the country belong to the people and the people must properly express what they want."
Rouhani emphasized that criticism completely differed from violence or inflicting damage on public property, saying, "We must not allow an atmosphere to be created in the country under which supporters of the revolution and people will be concerned about their lives and security."