DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s supreme chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded publicly on Monday to the largest protests in Iran in years, breaking weeks of silence to sentence what he known as “rioting” and accuse the U.S. and Israel of planning the protests.
Khamenei mentioned he was “heartbroken” by the dying of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini within the custody of Iran’s morality police, which set off the nationwide protests. However, he sharply condemned the protests as a international plot to destabilize Iran, echoing authorities’ earlier feedback.
“This rioting was deliberate,” he advised a cadre of police college students in Tehran. “These riots and insecurities have been designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their staff.”
He described scenes of protestors ripping off their state-mandated headscarves and setting fireplace to mosques, banks and police vehicles as “not regular” and “unnatural.”
His feedback come as nationwide protests sparked by Amini’s dying entered a 3rd week regardless of the federal government’s efforts to crack down.
Iran’s state TV has reported the dying toll from violent clashes between protesters and the safety officers may very well be as excessive as 41, with out offering particulars. Rights teams have given larger dying tallies, with London-based Amnesty International saying it has recognized 52 victims, together with 5 girls and not less than 5 youngsters.
An untold variety of folks have been apprehended, with native officers reporting not less than 1,500 arrests.
Authorities have repeatedly blamed international nations and exiled opposition teams for fanning the unrest, with out offering proof.
The protests over Amini’s dying have tapped right into a deep nicely of grievances in Iran, together with the nation’s surging costs, excessive unemployment, social restrictions and political repression. Demonstrations have continued in Tehran and far-flung provinces whilst authorities have restricted web entry to the surface world and blocked social media apps.
As the brand new educational yr started this week, college students gathered in protest at universities throughout Iran, in accordance with movies extensively shared on social media, chanting slogans towards the federal government and denouncing safety forces’ clampdown on demonstrators.
Universities in main cities together with Isfahan in central Iran, Mashhad within the northeast and Kermanshah within the west have held protests that includes crowds of scholars clapping, chanting and burning state-mandated headscarves.
“Don’t name it a protest, it’s a revolution now,” shouted college students at Shahid Beheshti University within the capital of Tehran, as girls took off their hijabs and set them alight, in protest over Iran’s regulation requiring girls to cowl their hair.
“Students are awake, they hate the management!” chanted crowds of scholars on the University of Mazandaran within the nation’s north.