Conflicts & War

Khamenei slams protests in Iranian new year speech

Tehran, Mar 21 (EFE).- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini were a “global conspiracy” aimed at weakening the Islamic Republic.

In a televised address to mark the Persian New Year, or Nowruz, Khamenei accused the West of allegedly supporting the protests and called for the revolution to be “evolved” through reforms.

“The enemy wants to turn our theocratic democracy into a state with a fake democracy in the service of the West,” Khamenei said, referring to Israel and the United States, which he said were hostile to the “identity of the Islamic Republic.”

“The president of the United States (Joe Biden) supported the recent unrest. Western countries have tried to isolate Iran,” Khamenei said from the northeastern city of Mashhad.

The religious leader also accused “some elements inside the country” of seeking change in the Islamic Republic, calling them “lunatics.”

“But the Islamic Republic overcame this global conspiracy and proved its strength,” Khamenei said amid shouts of “death to America” at Imam Reza’s mausoleum, where he delivered the speech.

Khamenei said Iran had achieved great advances in science, technology, energy and infrastructure despite the “sanctions and the most severe economic pressures” applied by the international community over the country’s nuclear program.

He did admit, however, that the country is experiencing a difficult economic situation which he blamed in part on policies adopted before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and called on politicians and parliamentarians to improve the situation.

Amini’s death sparked the largest protests against the Islamic Republic in decades, led by young people and women shouting “woman, life, freedom” calling for the end of the theocracy installed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iranian authorities launched a brutal crackdown to suppress the protests, which has led to nearly 500 deaths, the arrest of tens of thousands of people (of whom 22,000 have been pardoned) and the execution of four demonstrators.EFE


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