While protests are raging across Iran Wednesday, Islamic Republic’s ruler Ali Khamenei called the uprising "scattered riots" designed “by the enemy.”
Khamenei, who had already tried to downplay the antigovernment protests last week, made the remarks on Wednesday as protests began in major cities across the country amid a near total internet shutdown and choppers hovering above Tehran. Earlier in the month, he claimed protests were planned by the US and Israel and not staged by "ordinary Iranians."
"These scattered riots are the passive and clumsy design of the enemy against the great and innovative developments and movements of the Iranian nation," the Supreme Leader said.
Without providing any explanation, he said, “The Iranian nation made great moves in a short period of time, which were 180 degrees opposite to the global arrogance’s policies, and they were forced to react,” referring to the United States and other Western powers.
Describing the protests, that are garnering more support from the international community, as a “minor incident,” he said, “The constructions, great executive works, effective legislation, big judicial works, and important issues in foreign policy should not be sidelined by these minor incidents.”
Tehran Youth, presumed to be a group of young activists who have taken the lead in current protests issued the call for Wednesday’s nationwide protests after security forces used military weapons against protesters in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj earlier this week.
Protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who died in the custody of the hijab police, started in her hometown Saqqez and capital but soon spread all over Iran.