An outspoken Iranian female lawmaker says "tyranny," as well as "parallel" state institutions and centers of power, are destroying the "republican" element of the country’s political system.
In a speech to parliament on December 9, Parvaneh Salahshuri also accused the clerical establishment of failing to address the problems of the people, saying: “Except for a minority that enjoy privileges, we have abandoned the rest of the people.”
“If [authorities] were among the people, they would definitely feel the poverty and misery” of Iranians, Salahshuri added.
Iranian media reported that Salahshuri’s speech angered her hard-line colleagues who shouted and asked for her microphone to be turned off.
Salahshuri’s comments follow several days of protests across Iran last month that were triggered by gasoline-price hikes and a rationing plan.
Estimates vary wildly of the death toll from Iranian officials' response to the protests, but Amnesty International says at least 208 people have died as a result of what it called a "shameful disregard for human life."
The real number of dead is likely to be higher, according to the London-based human rights watchdog.
Iranian officials have not released any figure on the death toll.
Salahshuri, a sociologist, had come under pressure in the past for calling for the release of political prisoners and for raising some of the issues women face in a country where they suffer from legal and cultural discrimination.