As protests in Iran continue into their third week, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has for the first time commented on the protests by invoking conspiracy theories.
Weeks after the death of the girl Mahsa Amini at the hands of the so-called “morality police” in Tehran, and the protests that followed have not been off since September 16 until today, the highest authority in Iran came out on Monday, declaring support for the security authorities’ measures in the face of the protesters, whose demands have widened to include regime change.
“The death of the young girl is a bitter and unfortunate incident that has burned our hearts, but the reaction of some to her by destabilizing the security of streets and citizens, burning the Koran, removing the veil from the heads of some veiled women, and setting fire to mosques, Hussainiya and cars is not normal and natural,” Khamenei said during the graduation of a group of students from Tehran’s military universities.
“In the events of recent days, the police and Basij forces were more exposed to injustice, while the Iranian people were also subjected to it,” Khamenei added, “but it has emerged strong as usual and will also appear in the future to the enemies.”
Khamenei renewed his description of what is happening as “riots and insecurity,” claiming that the protests “are planned by the United States, Israel and Western countries.” He reiterated that “the reaction we witnessed to the girl’s death was not normal and this turmoil was planned.”
Khamenei criticized US support for the protests in Iran, saying: “There are many riots in the world and in Europe, especially France and Paris, from time to time there are detailed riots, but did the president of the United States, or the House of Representatives, support the rioters and make a statement?”.
Criticism of artists
“America is Iran’s strong and independent enemy,” Khamenei said. “It has announced its intention to provide some Internet devices or software to troublemakers so that they can communicate easily.”
Some Iranian artists, journalists, and athletes who have voiced their support for the protests have not been spared Khamenei’s criticism. “Our artistic and sports community is healthy and few people deserve all this trouble,” he said, calling for “the judiciary to investigate the support of artists, journalists, and athletes in the protests, which he described as criminal cases.”