Iran arrests 7,000, blames U.S. conspiracy for protests
Topics: IRAN U.S. CONSPIRACY
Protests began on November 15 after a government-sanctioned hike in petrol prices, but bloomed into a wider demonstrations against the regime, with calls for senior leaders to step down.
No official toll of deaths or injuries has been released, and outside observers are finding it difficult to gather information due to an internet blackout instituted by the government. Amnesty International says it believes the violence killed at least 143 people, something Iran disputes without offering any evidence to support its claims.
In comments reported by state media, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the Iranian people had extinguished “a very dangerous deep conspiracy that cost so much money and effort.” He praised the police, the Guard and the Basij (a Revolutionary Guard volunteer force) for “entering the field and carrying out their task in a very difficult confrontation”.
Mr Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, described the protests as being orchestrated by “global arrogance,” which he uses to refer to the US. He described America as seeing the price hikes as an “opportunity” to bring their “troops” to the field but the “move was destroyed by people.” He offered no evidence for the claim.
"A deep, vast and very dangerous conspiracy that a lot of money had been spent on ... was destroyed by the people," Khamenei said in a meeting with members of the paramilitary Basij force which took part in the crackdown against protests, according to his official website. ■