Iran’s Supreme Leader Breaks Silence on Protests Sparked by Mahsa Amini’s Death; blames the US, Israel

DUBAI: Iran’s supreme leader on Monday gave his full support to security forces confronting protests ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini in custody, comments that could herald a crackdown on the unrest more than two weeks since they started. died to suppress. In his first comments about the 22-year-old’s death following her arrest by the vice squad for “inappropriate clothing,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Amini’s death “broke my heart deeply” and called it a “bitter incident” provoked by the enemies of Iran.

“The duty of our security forces, including the police, is to ensure the security of the Iranian nation… Those who attack the police leave the Iranian citizens defenseless against criminals, robbers and extortionists,” Khamenei told a group of cadets of the armed forces. in Tehran.

Security forces, including the police and the Basij voluntary militia, have cracked down on the protests, with thousands arrested and hundreds injured, according to human rights groups, bringing the death toll to more than 130.

The Iranian authorities have reported that many members of the security forces have been killed in the unrest, which is culminating in the largest opposition to the Iranian authorities in years, with many calling for the end of more than four decades of Islamic spiritual rule.

Khamenei said security forces had suffered “injustice” during the protests.

“Some people have created insecurity on the streets,” Khamenei said, strongly denouncing what he described as planned “riots” and accusing the United States and Israel, the Islamic Republic’s nemesis, of orchestrating the disturbances.

The crackdown on the protests has led to widespread international condemnation. The White House denounced the crackdown and Britain called on the Iranian chargé d’affaires, denouncing the crackdown as “truly shocking”.

Within hours of Amini’s funeral in the Kurdish city of Saqez on Sept. 17, thousands of Iranians poured into the streets across the country as people burned pictures of Khamenei and chanted “Death to the dictator,” according to social media videos.

Still, there’s little chance of a near-term collapse of the Islamic Republic as its leaders are determined not to show the kind of weakness they believe sealed the fate of the US-backed Shah in 1979, officials and analysts told Reuters.

The unrest, however, questions the priority set by Khamenei’s rule – the survival of the four-decade-old Islamic Republic and its religious elite at all costs.

“Those who have caused unrest to sabotage the Islamic Republic deserve harsh prosecution and punishment,” Khamenei said.

The protests have not abated despite a mounting death toll and increasingly violent crackdowns by security forces with tear gas, clubs and — in some cases, according to videos posted by social media and rights groups — live ammunition.

Despite Khamenei’s warning, Iranians in several cities chanted ‘We want regime change’ and ‘death to Khamenei’ at night from rooftops – a form of protest used in the 1979 revolution that turned Iran into the Islamic Republic.

In an unprecedented move, high school students in a dozen cities joined the protests, refusing to attend classes and walking the streets without a mandatory headscarf. Videos on social media showed young girls chanting “Freedom, Freedom” in the city of Karaj.

The demonstrations also spread to dozens of universities, with university students organizing strikes to protest a late Sunday attack by security forces on Tehran’s prominent Sharif University. According to social media posts and videos, dozens of students have been arrested and many injured.

US charges Iran for crackdown on protests: Joe Biden

The United States will impose further charges this week on Iranian officials responsible for the violence against protesters who protested the Iranian government after the death of Mahsa Amini, President Joe Biden said Monday.

In a statement, Biden said he was “deeply concerned about reports of intensified violence against peaceful protesters in Iran” and promised a prompt response.

“This week, the United States will impose additional charges on perpetrators of violence against peaceful protesters. We will continue to hold Iranian officials accountable and support the rights of Iranians to protest freely,” he said.

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