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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Man shot in Iran after trying to break into president's office

Motive is unclear says deputy governor of Tehran

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani delivers remarks at a news conference during the UN General Assembly in New York City, US on September 20, 2017. Stephanie Keith / Reuters
Iran's president Hassan Rouhani delivers remarks at a news conference during the UN General Assembly in New York City, US on September 20, 2017. Stephanie Keith / Reuters

Iranian authorities shot and arrested a man trying to break into the presidential office on Monday, the deputy governor of Tehran said.

"We are trying to identify the person and find out his motivation," Mohsen Hamedani was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

It was not clear whether President Hassan Rouhani was in the office at the time of the incident.

The man was wielding a machete, according to Tasnim news agency, and was wearing a white shroud, symbolising his readiness to sacrifice his life.

The attacker was shot in the leg when trying to pass the security gate of the presidential office in Pasteur Street in central Tehran. It is a high-security area as other key government institutions are also located there.

Hamid Reza Goudarzi, deputy security chief, said that the 35-year-old man was taken to hospital, according to the Irna news agency.

There was no information on his condition or possible motivation for trying to enter the presidential complex.

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However protesters have been gathering in front of the building in recent years to show their anger against high prices and unemployment.

Many Iranians who lost their savings after investments in unlicensed credit and financial institutions gather there almost every month, asking for their money back.

In 2016, a 30-year-old miner, who had not been paid for months, doused himself in petrol and tried to set himself ablaze in front of the building.

Many Iranians are frustrated by the slow pace of economic recovery, arguing that jobs have been lost and prices have risen despite the 2015 agreement Rouhani reached with global powers to lift sanctions in return for curbing Iran’s nuclear programme.

Unemployment stood at 12.4 per cent in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Center of Iran, up 1.4 per cent from the previous year. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million.

Soaring food prices also prompted widespread protests across the country in December, and resulted in the arrest of thousands of people.

Irna said the man had managed to pass through the first checkpoint, one of several.

Attempts to enter the presidential compound with a sword are rare, although Iranian men occasionally carry swords and daggers, especially when in traditional dress.

Police have tried to dissuade people from carrying such arms, and occasionally confiscate the weapons.