Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei gave his first reactions on Tuesday to the ongoing protests demanding justice for Mahsa Amini and for wider recognition of women’s rights.
Khomenei said Amini’s death ‘broke our hearts’ while addressing a graduation ceremony of police and armed forces cadets, news agency BBC reported.
“But what is not normal is that some people, without proof or an investigation, have made the streets dangerous, burned the Quran, removed hijabs from veiled women and set fire to mosques and cars,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by news agency BBC.
The supreme leader then went on to blame the US and Israel accusing them of engineering the protests which are now being seen as the biggest challenge to his rule.
He said security forces must prepare for more protests.
“I say clearly that these riots and the insecurity were engineered by America and the occupying, false Zionist regime [Israel], as well as their paid agents, with the help of some traitorous Iranians abroad,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Khomenei, however, did not provide any evidence for his claims.
He also said that the actions taken by the security forces were justified because they have suffered injustice.
His comments come after security forces almost laid a siege at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.
Students who tried to leave were beaten one by one and one student was blindfolded and taken away.
A minister and few professors intervened and ensured the siege was lifted.
However, students at the university have said they will not resume classes until their fellow classmates are not released.
The protests began after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died after going into a coma when the morality police struck her on her head with an object accusing her of not donning her hijab or headscarf properly.
She died on September 17 and soon after news surfaced of her death protests broke out all over Iran demanding proper treatment of women. So far 133 people have been killed by security forces during the protests, several among them women.
Iran, however, says that only 40 people, including security personnel, have died in the protests which have been going on for well over a week.
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