Iran Blames Israel Intelligence Agents for Mass Protests Leaving 15 Dead
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Mossad behind uprising
Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has spoken out on the recent mass protest that left 15 people dead to accuse Israel of being behind the uprising.
As the protests wage into their fifth day, the Iranian Supreme Leader has accused the Israeli government of deliberately stirring unrest bu using Mossad intelligence agents to trigger anti-government riots.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took to Twitter to claim that "enemies of the Islamic Republic" are using foreign "intelligence services" to create discord in Iran, saying:
"In recent events, enemies of Iran have allied and used the various means they possess, including money, weapons, politics and intelligence services, to trouble the Islamic Republic.
"The enemy is always looking for an opportunity and any crevice to infiltrate and strike the Iranian nation."
He vowed to address the nation about recent events "when the time is right."
Express reports: The Grand Ayatollah’s intervention follows the revelation of an increased death toll amid the furious protests.
At least 15 people have now died since the protests began on Thursday.
State TV reported ten had been killed overnight on Sunday.
The death toll then rose on Monday when the deputy governor of Iran’s western Hamadan province told reporters another three had been killed in the city of Tuyserkan.
Besides the thirteen killed on Sunday, two protesters are thought to have died following earlier clashes.
Reports also suggest a police officer has been shot dead.
In addition, up to 400 people have been arrested as police cracked down on protesters, including 200 in capital city Tehran.
Protesters are angry about government corruption and the state of Iran’s economy.
Much of their anger has been directed at Supreme Leader Khamenei as they have called for the abolition of the clerical system that brought him to power.
The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has also made an intervention in recent days.
He emphasized the government would show "no tolerance for those who damage public properties, violate public order and create unrest in society."
While Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has warned anti-government demonstrators they will face an “iron fist” if the unrest is not halted.
The authorities have also suspended social media they believe are being used to organize protests, including Telegram and Instagram.
This does not appear to have deterred furious protesters, who attacked police and authorities overnight as the unrest escalated.
Video on social media shows a violent clash as protesters attempted to occupy a police station that had been set ablaze.
On Monday night, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters in central Tehran.
US President Donald Trump has backed the protests amid a furious war of words with president Rouhani, declaring it is “time for change” in Iran.
While British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Monday:
"There should be meaningful debate about the legitimate and important issues the protesters are raising and we look to the Iranian authorities to permit this.
"We regret the loss of life that has occurred in the protests in Iran, and call on all concerned to refrain from violence and for international obligations on human rights to be observed."