Iran minister says government will listen to protester demands

Bloomberg | Golnar Motevalli & Ladane Nasseri: Iran’s labor minister pledged to listen to the demands of protesters who’ve taken to the streets over the past week even as state-run media said counter-rallies are being staged to support the government.

 “We are all responsible when it comes to recent events,” Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Ali Rabei said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. “The government and authorities will listen to people’s demands and will make every effort to materialize them.”
 There were no reports of fresh protests in the capital on Wednesday amid a heavy police presence. About 20 people, including several policemen, have been killed since the unrest broke out last week.
 The protests have intensified talks within the Trump administration about imposing fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, as the U.S. president seized on the crisis to justify his long-standing opposition to a 2015 nuclear agreement.
 The semi-official Islamic Students News Agency said “spontaneous” pro-government rallies were taking place in many provinces. Demonstrations backing the ruling establishment in Iran are often organized by authorities.