Iran’s supreme leader breaks silence on protests, accuses US

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Image Source : AP In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, reviews a group of armed forces cadets during their graduation ceremony accompanied by commanders of the armed forces, at the police academy in Tehran, Iran.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded publicly on Monday to the biggest protests in Iran in years, breaking weeks of silence to condemn the violent rioting and accuse protests of being planned by the US and Israel.

Khamenei described the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police, which set off the nationwide protests, as “a sad incident” that “left us heartbroken.”

However, he sharply condemned the protests as a foreign plot to destabilise Iran, echoing authorities’ previous comments.

“This rioting was planned,” he told a cadre of police students in Tehran.

“I say clearly that these riots and insecurities were designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their employees.”

He added of the protests: “Such actions are not normal, are unnatural.”

His comments come as nationwide protests sparked by Amini’s death entered their third week despite the government’s efforts to crack down.

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