January 3, 2018 / 5:30 PM / 10 months ago

U.N. chief urges Iranians to avoid violence as protests continue

FILE PHOTO: U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during the ceremony marking the closure of the U.N. tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos

(Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern on Wednesday about the loss of life in ongoing protests in Iran and called for the security forces and demonstrators to avoid further violence, his spokesman said in a statement.

“The secretary-general ... deplores the loss of life in the protests. He urges respect for the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and that any demonstrations take place in a peaceful manner,” Guterres’ spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement. “Further violence must be avoided.”

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Walsh

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