The U.K. on Monday called for dialogue over issues raised by protesters in Iran as a wave of demonstrations across the country entered a fifth day.
A statement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office quoted British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as saying that “the UK is watching events in Iran closely”.
“We believe there should be meaningful debate about the legitimate and important issues the protesters are raising, and we look to the Iranian authorities to permit this,” Johnson said.
“We also believe that, particularly as we enter the 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, people should be able to have freedom of expression and to demonstrate peacefully within the law.”
At least 16 people, including a police officer, have been killed in anti-government protests across Iran since they erupted last week, according to officials.
“We regret the loss of life that has occurred in the protests in Iran and call on all concerned to refrain from violence and for international obligations on human rights to be observed,” Johnson said in the statement.
Thousands of Iranians hit the streets Thursday in the northeastern cities of Mashhad and Kashmar to protest rising commodity prices and perceived government mismanagement, according to local media reports.
Thursday's protests were followed by pro-government protests Saturday.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday warned Iranians against the ongoing anti-government protests.
"We should avoid putting the country in a situation the enemies can take advantage of," he said.