Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi blamed the US for the protests that swept through 19 cities in the Islamic nation on Wednesday. In a speech at a conference in Kazakhstan on Thursday, Rasi accused the United States of having a “policy of destabilization”.
The ongoing unrest began in response to the death of 22-year-old college student Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran’s Morality Police on September 13 and died three days later. The Iranian government blamed an underlying health condition for Amini’s death. However, her family says she was beaten by police and was in a coma from her injuries.
Protests quickly spread across the country, and women publicly defied the country’s dress code, removing their hijabs and cutting their hair in public. Women, students and school children have reportedly taken part in the demonstrations, shouting “Women, Life, Freedom” as a rallying cry for the current social movement. The protests have escalated across the country into a direct challenge to Iranian authoritarianism.
The demonstrations were met with violence, with police reportedly beating protesters, firing tear gas into the crowd and, in some reports, opening fire on the crowd. Iran Human Rights, a non-profit organization based in Oslo, Norway, estimates that there were 201 civilian casualties, including 23 children, in connection with the demonstrations. The Iranian authorities have reported that 20 members of the security forces have also died.
Oil workers in southern Iran began strikes on Monday and on Tuesday announced their support for anti-government protesters. The government says the oil workers’ strike is an industrial action and not linked to the larger anti-government movement. The current savagery and civil unrest in Iran has been compared to the Green Movement in 2009.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the protests “scattered riots” and said they were fueled not in response to Amini’s death but by Iranian enemies, with Raisi doubly claiming on Thursday the demonstrations were part of a Western conspiracy.
The US has openly supported the Iranian protesters, with US State Department spokesman Ned Price stating in a news conference on Wednesday that the current US focus is “on the remarkable bravery and courage demonstrated by the Iranian people through their peaceful… puts on demonstrations”.
Asked about the possible revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Price said that’s not the focus right now, adding that the US is instead looking at ways to continue supporting Iranian protesters. On Wednesday, US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke at a roundtable with over 20 global tech companies to discuss Iran’s support for internet freedom.
Iran has long censored and restricted internet access. The current crackdown has blocked access to social media channels and messaging apps like WhatsApp.
Asked about the possible revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Price said that’s not the focus right now, adding that the US is instead looking at ways to continue supporting Iranian protesters.
On Wednesday, US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke at a roundtable with over 20 global tech companies to discuss support for online freedom in Iran, which has long censored and restricted Internet access. The current crackdown has blocked access to social media channels and messaging apps like WhatsApp.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/iran-accuses-us-destabilization-protests-continue-19-cities-1839509?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution Iran accuses US of “destabilizing” as protests continue in 19 cities