Iranian Supreme Leader blames U.S., Israel for protests across country

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017
(Image credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the U.S. and Israel for ongoing protests in his country, breaking weeks of silence on Monday to comment on the greatest public opposition to his regime in years.

Protests across Iran broke out following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after allegedly going out in public without a headscarf. While the Iranian police have denied responsibility, Amini's father told BBC News that he blamed them for her death.

Khamenei's comments came during a speech in which he said the unrest in the country "was planned," according to Axios. While Khamenei did express his sympathy for Amini's death, he added, "These riots and insecurities were designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their employees."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the progress of the country," the supreme leader claimed. "They made the streets unsafe, burned Qurans, removed hijab from veiled women's heads, set fire to mosques and people's cars."

"If it wasn't for this young girl, [the U.S. and Israel] would have created another excuse to create insecurity and riots in the country," he said.

Khamenei went on to defend the actions of the Iranian police against the protesters, who have been seen cracking down on dissenters, often violently. Sources at the Sharif University of Technology told The Associated Press that police had even trapped students on campus while deploying tear gas.

At least 83 protesters have already been killed, according to Reuters.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us