Protests in Iran: Supreme leader blames foes
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday blamed recent protests in Iran on foreign “enemies” seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic.
He also said the US and its allies were waging a “psychological war” against Iran by accusing it of piracy for seizing two Greek ships after the US confiscated Iranian oil from a tanker.
“Today, the enemies’ most important hope for striking a blow at the country is based on popular protests,” Khamenei said, referring to weeklong protests over the collapse of a building in southwestern Iran last month that killed 37 people.
“They hope to turn the people against the Islamic establishment and the Islamic Republic through psychological work, activities on the Internet and cyberspace ... and by spending money and recruiting mercenaries.”
“But the enemies’ calculation is as wrong as many earlier ones,” he said in a televised speech on the 33rd anniversary of the death of the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Authorities have blamed the collapse of the 10-storey residential and commercial building in Abadan on local corruption and lax safety and say 13 people, including mayors and other officials, have so far been arrested for construction violations.
Protesters, however, say the disaster stemmed from government negligence and entrenched graft and have chanted slogans against officials, including Khamenei.