Iran’s Khamenei backs police over Mahsa Amini protests, may signal tougher crackdown

Date:

  • Rising public anger over woman’s death in police custody
  • Khamenei says Amini’s death ‘broke my heart deeply’
  • Supreme leader blames foreign enemies for ‘riots’
  • Anti-government protests spread to universities

DUBAI, Oct. 3 (Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader on Monday gave full support to security forces confronting protests ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini in custody, comments that could signal a crackdown on the quell unrest more than two weeks since she died.

In his first comments about the death of the 22-year-old woman after her arrest by the vice squad for “inappropriate clothing”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said her death “broke my heart deeply” and called it a “bitter incident” caused 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.

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Security forces, including 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.

Iranian authorities have reported that many members of the security forces have been killed in the unrest, which culminated in the largest demonstration of resistance against 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. “In recent incidents, it has mainly been security forces, including the police and Basij, as well as the people of Iran, who have been wronged,” he said.

“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.

‘REGULATIONS’

“I declare openly that the recent riots were plans by America, the fake Zionist regime (Israel) and their mercenaries inside and outside Iran,” said Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority.

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, begs the question of what priority set 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 growing 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.

Protests continued across Iran on Monday, with university students organizing strikes after security forces clashed with students at Tehran’s prominent Sharif University on Sunday.

According to social media posts and videos, dozens of students have been arrested and many injured. Iran’s state news agency said most of the arrested students were released on Monday. Reuters was unable to verify the videos and posts.

Authorities said only doctoral students at Sharif University would be admitted to the campus until further notice, state media reported.

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Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Writing by Tom Perry and Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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