Labour criticised over reaction to Iran protests

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Media captionIran protests: Why people have taken to the streets

The head of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has criticised Labour for not condemning Iran’s government following protests in the country’s streets.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told the BBC her party didn’t want to “leap to judgement” and they were taking a “cautious” approach.

But Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said it was “extraordinary” Labour had not spoken out against the Iranian regime.

At least 21 people have been killed since protests broke out last month.

The protests were initially about price rises and corruption. They soon spread to a number of cities and started to encompass wider anti-government sentiments.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has yet to comment on the protests.

Ms Thornberry told BBC’s Political Thinking podcast that it was difficult to understand the political forces behind the current protests and suggested that those opposing the regime were not necessarily “the guys in white hats”.

Mr Tugendhat said it was “hardly a knee jerk reaction” to condemn the regime, which he claimed had been brutalising women and murdering gay people for 40 years.

A Labour statement said the party had been “calm and measured” in its response and condemned both the violence by the regime and attempts at foreign interference.