The Latest: Iran supreme leader says protests a ‘conspiracy’
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on protests and Iran’s recent protests and security crackdown (all times local):
Iranian state media is quoting its supreme leader as calling recent mass protests against government-set gasoline prices rising a “conspiracy.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comment Wednesday while addressing members of the Revolutionary Guard’s all-volunteer Basij force, which help put down the demonstrations.
Khamenei in part blamed the U.S., without offering any evidence to support his claim.
Iran’s government still hasn’t offered any statistics on injuries, arrests or deaths in the protests and security crackdown that followed government-set gasoline prices rising Nov. 15. Amnesty International says it believes the violence killed at least 143 people, something Iran disputes without offering any evidence to support its claims.
Iran is beginning to acknowledge the scale of recent protests that swept across the Islamic Republic, with one lawmaker quoted as saying authorities arrested more than 7,000 people.
The comment by Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, who sits on parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, came as Iran’s interior minister also alleged demonstrators wanted to take over state television.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli offered no evidence for his claim during an interview aired late Tuesday night on Iranian state television. Protests weren’t reported around state TV’s headquarters in northern Tehran.
Iran has yet to offer any definitive statistics for the unrest, which began Nov. 15 when officials sharply raised government-set gasoline prices.
Amnesty International says it believes violence in the protests and a security force crackdown killed at least 143 people.