A man armed with a machete was shot in the leg and detained after trying to enter the presidential complex of Hassan Rouhani in north Tehran, local news agency reports said on February 5.
The man was apparently intent on reaching the president’s main office during his attempt at entering the heavily fortified park-like site by bypassing a security checkpoint at the front gates.
"A person, wearing a shroud, was attempting to pass through the gates of the presidential complex but was faced down," Deputy Governor General of the Tehran Province for Security Affairs Mohsen Hamedani told Fars News Agency.
"After security personnel guarding the presidential office fired at the assailant who was carrying a cold weapon [the machete], he could not enter the site due to being severely injured," he added.
The security official said that an immediate investigation was now under way to identify the intruder and his motivation for trying to forcefully enter the secure site off Pasteur Street. The complex is home to several government offices.
Nationwide protests driven by various groups largely upset at worsening economic hardship or Iran’s government and clerical ruling establishment rocked Iran around the turn of the year.
In early January, the Freedom House watchdog concluded that Rouhani, a self-proclaimed centrist and pragmatist, had failed to effectively challenge repressive elements in the Islamic Republic’s regime since he was re-elected with a landslide in May last year or deliver the greater freedoms he has promised since first being elected in 2013.
Some hardliners have tried to pin the blame for the outbreak of social unrest that spread to more than 80 cities and towns entirely on the failure of Rouhani’s government to secure the economic progress Iran so desperately needs but the president has hit back saying the demonstrations were about much more than economic hardship and were driven by young Iranians who will no longer defer to the ageing revolutionary elite.
“It would be a misrepresentation and also an insult to Iranian people to say [the protesters] only had economic demands. People had economic, political and social demands,” the 69-year-old, reportedly said in a swipe at the hardliners who highlighted what they say is his mismanagement of the economy.
Around 25 people are thought to have died during the unrest.
Youth unemployment stands at almost 30% in Iran, there are parts of the country where general unemployment reaches around 60% and inflation is very near double-digit.
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