DUBAI, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who has accused the United States of seeking to destabilize the Islamic Republic, said Iranian cities were “safe and sound”, Iranian media reported on Saturday on the 50th day of demonstrations.
Iran’s clerical power has struggled to quell protests that erupted in September after the death of young Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by vice squad for violating laws on women’s dress.
Activists say hundreds of people, mostly protesters, have been killed. It is one of the strongest waves of protests in the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the US-backed Shah.
As Iranian authorities this week marked the anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran by radical students, President Joe Biden backed the protesters, saying, “We are going to liberate Iran. They will free themselves very soon”.
“The Americans and other enemies sought to destabilize Iran by implementing the same plans as in Libya and Syria, but they failed,” Ebrahim Raisi told a group of students on Friday, according to reports. Iranian news agencies.
A popular uprising in Libya led to NATO intervention in 2011 and the overthrow and assassination of the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, by rebel fighters. In Syria, mass protests against Iran’s ally President Bashar al Assad have been forcibly suppressed and the country has descended into a conflict that continues 11 years later.
Iranian cities are now “safe and sound”, said Ebrahim Raisi, promising to punish the unrest that rocked the country.
According to the militant news agency HRANA, 314 demonstrators have been killed as of Friday, including 47 minors. At least 14,170 people were arrested, including 392 students, during protests in 136 towns and villages and 134 universities. Some 38 members of the security forces were also killed.
Students from a dozen universities in Tehran and Karaj, west of the capital, the city of Rasht, in the north, and Mashhad, in the northeast, demonstrated on Saturday, chanting slogans such as “Woman, life, freedom”, according to videos released by HRANA.
(Dubai office, written by Dominic Evans; French version Kate Entringer)