Jan. 13 – Lawmakers in the UK discussed the situation in Iran as nationwide anti-government protests continue to sweep the country.

Ministers at the debate which took place in Westminster discussed the political situation in Iran and the treatment of protesters by the Iranian government and its security forces.

Iran’s most recent wave of protests, which began in September, has led to the deaths of at least 450 people, including at least 70 children, and more than 19,000 arrests.

A prominent activist detained in Iran’s notorious Evin prison described young prisoners being tortured by officials, in a letter.

Sepideh Qolian said she had been shouted at by interrogators, and that prisoners were routinely forced to make confessions under duress in a new “torture and interrogation” section of the jail.

She also said a young boy had been forced to stand outside blindfolded in the snow wearing just a thin, grey tee shirt. Qolian was convicted of acting “against national security” for supporting a strike and sentenced to five years in prison.

And the World Bank said Iran’s economic growth would fall below two percent in 2024, bringing the country close to a recession following a sharp drop in the rial and chronic inflation.

Hardline members of Iran’s government have blamed the current economic crisis on Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, who has been heavily criticised for his management of the country.

Figures from Iran’s interior ministry hold that an estimated 60 percent of Iranians live below the poverty line, and of those living under the poverty line between 20 to 30 million live in “absolute poverty”.

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