British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks over the phone Thursday on the protests in Iran, agreeing that freedom of expression and human rights must be respected.
“The Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State had an in-depth constructive discussion on developments in Iran and the protests there,” a statement from the UK Foreign Office said.
It said they agreed on the importance of the right of freedom of expression and “that human rights in Iran needed to be fully respected in handling the demonstrations and undertook to monitor the situation closely”.
At least 23 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 earlier this week.
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.
During the phone call with Tillerson, Johnson also “reiterated the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Iran nuclear deal and to working with our allies and partners to address Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region”.
They also discussed the importance of moving forward on a process aiming at a political settlement in Yemen and the need to reinvigorate the political process on Syria, according to the statement.
Johnson and Tillerson also “agreed to maintain the pressure on North Korea to end their illegal nuclear program.”