Iran leader blames enemies for protests as death toll rises

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Iran’s Supreme Leader on Tuesday accused the country’s enemies of using a variety of “tools” to “create trouble” for his country, which has resulted in deadly protests.

The death toll from anti-government protests in Iran has risen to 21 since the demonstrations began last week, with nine Iranians killed in the Isfahan province Monday night, including two members of the security forces.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that six armed protesters were killed during an attack on a police station in the town of Qahderijan, according to the governor of Falavarjan County.

Over the past three days, security forces have struggled to contain the most audacious challenge to Iran’s clerical leadership since the outbreak of protests in 2009. Police have arrested more than 450 demonstrators in Tehran over the past three days, the deputy provincial governor of the city reported.

In his initial reaction to the uprising, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “In recent days, enemies of Iran used different tools including cash, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus to create troubles for the Islamic Republic,” further noting that he would address the nation about the unrest “when the time is right.”

Although Khamenei did not specifically name the enemies to whom he referred, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani contended that the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia were responsible for fomenting the recent riots in Iran.

In an interview with Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV, Shamkhani warned, “Saudis will receive Iran’s unexpected response and they know how serious it can be.”

President Donald Trump has signaled his support of the protesters, tweeting Tuesday, “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime… The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”

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