[Switzerland], Jan 3 (ANI): United Nations Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Wednesday urged the Iranian authorities to handle the wave of protests that have taken place around the country with great care so as not to further inflame violence and unrest.
"I am deeply disturbed by reports that more than 20 people, including an 11-year-old boy, have died and hundreds have been arrested during the recent wave of protests in Iran," Zeid said, in a statement.
The statement added, "The Iranian authorities must respect the rights of all demonstrators There must be thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence that have taken place."
The UN human rights chief underscored that Iranian citizens, who took to the streets to express their discontent, had a right to be heard.
Zeid urged the authorities to release from detention any protestors, who had been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, or penalised in any way, for expressing their views and protesting in a peaceful manner.
"Peaceful protests must not be criminalised. They are a legitimate part of the democratic process," he said.
Iran is still witnessing a wave of demonstrations, being held in many cities across the country as people took to raising anti-government slogans, over alleged corruption and rising prices that plagued the people of the country earlier this week.
Earlier, in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for peace and stability in Iran during a telephonic conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. (ANI)