March 21, 2023

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Khamenei blames Iran's unrest on "enemies" for toppling the Islamic Republic

Khamenei blames Iran’s unrest on “enemies” for toppling the Islamic Republic

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a videoconference meeting with people from East Azerbaijan in Tehran, Iran, February 17, 2022. Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader / WANA (West Asian News Agency) / Posted via Reuters

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June 4 (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday blamed recent protests in Iran on foreign “enemies” seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

He also said that the United States and its allies are waging a “psychological war” against Iran by accusing it of piracy to seize two Greek ships after the United States seized Iranian oil from an oil tanker. Read more

“Today, the most important hope of the enemies to strike the country depends on the popular protests,” Khamenei said, referring to week-long protests over the collapse of a building in southwestern Iran last month that killed 37 people.

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“They hope to turn 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,” he added.

“But the enemies’ calculations are wrong, like many previous ones,” he said in a televised address marking the 33rd anniversary of the death of the leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, 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 been arrested so far for building offenses. Read more

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But protesters say the disaster stems from government neglect and entrenched graft and chanted slogans against officials, including Khamenei.

Iranians have reported disrupting internet services, in an apparent attempt to stop the use of social media to organize rallies and disseminate videos. The authorities warned people to only follow official media and to avoid “rumours” from social media.

The United States, which has imposed strict sanctions on Iran, seized a shipment of Iranian oil on board the Iranian-flagged vessel Pegas, which Greece seized off its coast in April. Tehran responded by seizing two Greek ships on May 27. read more

But Khamenei said the international media was accusing Iran of hacking. “Who is the pirate here? You stole our oil. We took it from you. Reclaiming stolen goods is not stealing.”

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[email protected] Editing by Francis Kerry and Mark Potter

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.