-- A top Iranian judiciary official has said antigovernment protest leaders should be handed the harshest possible sentences, while President Hassan Rohani suggested demonstrations were driven by opposition to his ultraconservative rivals in the ruling elite.
-- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also weighed in on the matter, warning other countries not to foment insecurity in his country, echoing the official position of the Iranian government that the protests were fomented by the intelligence services of foreign states-- including the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
-- The United States has rejected Iran’s claims that Washington was behind the protests, which have led to the deaths of 22 people and the arrest of more than 1,700 others.
-- German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said the European Union will invite Zarif for talks about the widespread antigovernment protests that have roiled the country since December 2
-- Lawmaker Tayebeh Siavashi told the semiofficial ILNA news agency on January 8 that a 22-year-old man who was arrested by the police had died in prison. He said that he was informed by authorities that the detainee "committed suicide in jail."
-- Various Iranian officials have said that hundreds of detainees have been released, some after agreeing to sign a pledge not to "reoffend," the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.
-- In other news, a senior Iranian education official says Iran intends to ban English-language classes from primary schools amid warnings from Islamic leaders that the language has led to a "cultural invasion" from the West.
Live blog by Golnaz Esfandiari with Farangis Najibullah and Frud Bezhan
*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Tehran (GMT +3.5)