Iranian Khamenei blames unrest on ‘enemies’ ready to overthrow Islamic Republic

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a video conference meeting with residents of eastern Azerbaijan in Tehran, Iran, February 17, 2022. Iranian Supreme Leader’s Office/WANA ( West Asia News Agency)/Handout 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 the United States and its allies were waging “psychological warfare” against Iran by accusing it of piracy for seizing two Greek ships after the United States confiscated Iranian oil from a tanker. Read more

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

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“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 enemy’s calculation is as wrong as many other precedents,” he said in a televised speech on the 33rd anniversary of the death of the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Ayatollah. Ruhollah Khomeini.

Authorities have blamed the collapse of the 10-story residential and commercial building in Abadan on local corruption and lax security and say 13 people, including mayors and other officials, have so far been arrested for construction violations. Read more

Protesters, however, say the disaster is due to government negligence and entrenched corruption and have chanted against officials including Khamenei.

Iranians reported interrupted internet services, an apparent attempt to shut down the use of social media to hold rallies and broadcast videos. Authorities have warned people to only follow official media and avoid social media “rumors”.

The United States, which has imposed tough sanctions on Iran, confiscated the cargo of Iranian oil on the Iranian-flagged Pegas that Greece seized off its coast in April. Tehran retaliated by seizing two Greek ships on May 27. read more

Yet media around the world accuse Iran of piracy, Khamenei said. “Who is the pirate here?” You stole our oil. We took it back from you. Recovering stolen property is not theft.”

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[email protected] Editing by Frances Kerry and Mark Potter

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