US President Joe Biden reacted to the news about a fire in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, denouncing the “oppressive” Iranian government’s crackdown on popular protests.
During a press gaggle in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, Biden said, “The Iranian government is so oppressive, you can’t have anything but an enormous amount of respect for those people marching in the streets.”
He admitted that he was “surprised” by the way Iranians are protesting against the Islamic Republic, saying that “I was surprised by the courage of people and women taking the street — taking off their head scarf.”
He also pointed out that the Islamic Republic’s authorities are not good people, noting that it is “amazing” how Iranians have revolted against the government.
Also on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani censured Biden’s remarks, saying “He interfered for the umpteenth time in Iran's state matters by supporting the riots as he has done ever since the outbreak of recent developments in Iran.”
Amid a nationwide uprising ignited by death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, at least four people died Saturday evening as a large fire spread in Tehran’s Evin Prison while gunshots and blasts were heard.
The deaths of prisoners have added fuel to the fire of Iran protests which started 30 days ago. On Sunday, students at University of Tehran held another protest rally, chanting, "Tehran Turned into Prison, Evin Turned into Slaughterhouse."
"Another Cinema Rex Fire Happening. Enough Is Enough, People, Join Us," Tehran University students were heard chanting, referring to the deadly 1978 fire at Cinema Rex of Abadan in southern Iran which killed some 400 people and intensified the 1979 Revolution.