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The Iranian parliament on Sunday began a special session to examine why anti-government protests have broken out across the country.

The session, called by a reformist faction of lawmakers, is taking place behind closed doors, however a press statement will be released in the afternoon.

The interior minister, the head of intelligence and the security council chief were all expected to attend the meeting, the ISNA news agency reported on Saturday.

Hardliners in Iran have put the blame for the demonstrations, which broke out at the end of December, squarely on foreign conspirators, a sentiment echoed by Iranian President Hassan Rowhani and his reformers.

Rowhani has admitted however that not all the demonstrations could be steered from the outside by foreign forces.

The session will also discuss reformist demands that jailed demonstrators receive legal assistance.

According to official numbers, 19 people have been killed during the unrest.

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