IRAN: Iran accused the United States on Monday of using the recent protests triggered by the death of a woman in police custody to attempt to destabilise the country, and warned it would not go unnoticed, as the biggest unrest since 2019 showed no signs of calming down.
Of late, Iran has been jolted by nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of 22-yeard-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini after she was detained by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict restrictions on women’s appropriate attire.
The protests have turned chaotic and grizzly as thousands of women have taken to the streets, and resorted to openly burning their veils or cutting off their long hair in public rebellion against the government’s qualms about women’s virtuous clothing.
Consequently, the case has drawn international attention and downright condemnation. Amid such uproar, Iran said the United States was supporting rioters and seeking to destabilise the Islamic Republic.
“Washington is always trying to weaken Iran’s stability and security although it has been unsuccessful,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told Nour news, which is affiliated with a top security body, in a statement.
On his Instagram page, Kanaani accused the leaders of the United States and some European nations of exploiting a tragic event in support of “rioters” and ignoring “the presence of millions of people in the streets and squares of the country in support of the system.”
The anti-government protests are the largest to sweep the country since demonstrations over fuel prices in 2019 when Reuters reported 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown on protesters- the bloodiest incident of internal unrest in the Islamic Republic’s history.
At least 41 people have been killed in the latest unrest that started on Sept. 17, according to state TV.
The role of women in these mass gatherings has been vital. Seen waving and burning their veils in full view, one video footage on social media showed the sister of a man killed in the anti-government protests, Javad Heydari, cutting her hair in open defiance of the Islamic rules.
The government has duly planned rallies in an attempt to diffuse the tension.
Although the demonstrations over Amini’s death are a major challenge to the government, analysts see no immediate threat to the country’s leaders because Iran’s elite security forces have stamped out protests in the past.
Iran has blamed armed Iranian Kurdish dissidents for involvement in the ongoing unrest in the country, particularly in the northwest where most of Iran’s up to 10 million Kurds live.
Iran’s infamous military watchdogs, the Revolutionary Guards, launched an artillery and drone attack on Iranian militant opposition bases in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.