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Iran's ayatollah blames U.S., Israel for protests over woman's death

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the United States and Israel for current social protests on Monday. File Photo by EPA-EFE
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the United States and Israel for current social protests on Monday. File Photo by EPA-EFE

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday blamed the United States and Israel for the weeks-long protests sparked by the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in police custody.

The Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran's Guidance Patrol in Tehran because of the way she wore her hijab, has sparked protests inside Iran and around the world, along with condemnations from some world leaders.

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Khamenei sought to cast the protests as a push by outsiders to create a bogus social crisis in Iran.

"I say explicitly that these riots and this insecurity were a design by the U.S. and the occupying, fake Zionist regime and those who are paid by them, and some traitorous Iranians abroad helped them," said Khamenei, according to Al Jazeera.

"In the accident that happened, a young woman passed away, which also pained us, but reactions to her death before investigations [take place] ... when some come to make the streets insecure, burn Korans, take hijabs off covered women and burn mosques and people's cars -- they're not a normal, natural reaction."

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Iran's security forces have been blamed for more deaths in trying to put down the crowded protests, often resorting to tear gas, paint guns, shotguns, Tasers and water cannons to break up demonstrators.

Iran Human Rights, a rights organization based in Norway, said Sunday that 133 people have been killed by security forces while trying to stop the demonstrations.

Iranian American Women Foundation holds vigil for Mahsa Amini

Hundreds gather for the Iranian American Women Foundation's candlelight vigil for Mahsa Amini at West Hollywood Park in West Hollywood, Calif., on September 29, 2022. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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