Iran’s supreme leader remained silent on the protests and blames the United States

Iran's supreme leader remained silent on the protests and blames the United States
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday publicly responded to Iran’s biggest protests in years, breaking weeks of silence to condemn what he called “riots” and accuse the United States and Israel of plotting terrorism. objections

Riots sparked by the death of a young woman under the control of Iran’s morality police have been raging across the country for the third week, despite the government’s efforts to suppress them.

Iran closed its top technology university on Monday after hours of clashes between students and police turned the prestigious institution into a hotbed of protests and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of young people.

Addressing police students in Tehran, Khamenei said he was “deeply heartbroken” by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody, and called it a “tragic event.” However, he repeated the previous comments of the authorities and assessed the protests as a foreign plan to destabilize Iran.

“This riot was planned,” I said. These riots and insecurities were engineered by America and the Zionist regime and their collaborators.”

Meanwhile, Sharif University of Technology in Tehran announced that only doctoral students would be allowed on campus until further notice after hours of chaos on Sunday as witnesses said anti-government demonstrators clashed with pro-establishment students.

Witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said police detained hundreds of students on campus and used tear gas to break up the demonstrations. Plainclothes officers surrounded the school on all sides and detained at least 300 students, the student union said, as protests erupted on campus later that night.

Plainclothes officers beat a professor and several university employees, the association added.

The state-owned IRNA news agency tried to downplay the violent confrontation, saying the “protest meeting” took place without casualties. But he also said that police had released 30 students, admitting that many were mistakenly caught in the net while trying to go home.

The crackdown sparked backlash at home and abroad on Monday.

“Suppose we beat and arrest, is this the solution? A column in Jomhouri Eslami, one of Iran’s hard-line newspapers, asked a question. “Is it productive?”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock condemned the “brutal force of the regime” at Sharif University as “an expression of open fear of the power of education and freedom”.

“The courage of the Iranians is incredible,” he said.

US President Joe Biden said he was “seriously concerned about reports of an intensification of violent repression against peaceful demonstrators, including students and women, demanding equal rights and basic human dignity in Iran.”

“The United States stands with Iranian women and all Iranian citizens who inspire the world with their courage,” Biden said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters: “When dealing with demonstrations anywhere in the world, it is absolutely important to show maximum restraint, maximum restraint, and this, of course, applies to Iran as well.”

The latest protest movement in Iran, the country’s most widespread unrest in recent years, emerged in response to Ami’s death after he was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code. It has since become an open call against Iran’s leadership, with women burning their state-mandated hijabs and chants of “Death to the Dictator” echoing from the streets and balconies after dark.

The protests have opened a deep well of grievances in Iran, including the country’s ailing economy stifled by social restrictions, political repression and American sanctions. Even as officials cut off internet access and blocked social media apps, unrest continues in Tehran and far-flung provinces.

Protests have spread to the Middle East, Europe and North America. Thousands of people took to the streets of Los Angeles to show solidarity. Protesters and police clashed in front of Iranian embassies in London and Athens. The crowd shouted “Woman! Life! Freedom!” in Paris.

In a speech on Monday, Khamenei condemned scenes of protesters ripping off their headscarves and burning mosques, banks and police cars as “abnormal, unnatural acts”. He warned that “those who incite riots to provoke the Islamic Republic deserve severe prosecution and punishment.”

Security forces have responded with tear gas, metal pellets and, in some cases, live fire, according to rights groups and widely shared footage, although the extent of the crackdown remains unclear.

Iran’s state television reported that the number of dead could reach 41 in violent clashes between demonstrators and security personnel. Rights groups gave a higher death toll, while London-based Amnesty International said it had identified 52 victims.

Local officials say at least 1,500 people have been arrested, and many more have been arrested. Security forces arrested artists and dozens of journalists who supported the protests. Recently, on Sunday, the authorities arrested Alborz Nezami, a reporter for one of the economic newspapers in Tehran.

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence said that 9 foreigners were detained due to the protests. Alessia Piperno, a 30-year-old Italian tourist, called her parents on Sunday to say she had been arrested, her father Alberto Piperno told Italy’s ANSA news agency.

“We are very worried,” I said. “The situation is not good.”

Witnesses said most of the protesters appeared to be under the age of 25 — Iranians with little knowledge of global isolation and severe Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program. Talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled for months, fueling discontent as Iran’s currency depreciates and prices rise.

Shahindokht Kharezmi, a university teacher living in Tehran, said that the new generation has found unexpected ways to oppose the government.

“(The young protesters) learned strategy from video games and play to win,” Kharezmi told the pro-reform newspaper Etemad. There is no such thing as defeat for them.”

As the new academic year began this week, students at universities across Iran’s major cities gathered in protest, according to videos widely shared on social media, clapping, chanting anti-government slogans and waving headscarves.

Flare-ups of student anger have plagued the Islamic Republic since at least 1999, when security forces and supporters of hardline clerics attacked students protesting media restrictions. A wave of student protests under former reformist President Mohammad Khatami touched off the worst street fighting since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Students of Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University shouted, “Don’t protest, it’s a revolution now,” while women burned their hijabs.

“Students are awake, they hate the leadership!” At Mazandaran University in the north of the country, the crowd chanted.

The police force has been strengthened and is patrolling the streets near the universities on motorcycles.

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