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10 Jul, 2018 19:58

External enemies are to blame for igniting domestic protests in Iran – Defense Minister

External enemies are to blame for igniting domestic protests in Iran – Defense Minister

Iran is facing growing external pressure from its adversaries, who are seeking to sow dissent in the country and pit the people against the government, Iran’s’ Defense Minister has said, adding that they won’t succeed in doing so.

“Today, the flimsy coalition of the arrogant, reactionary and hypocritical [countries] led by the US is seeking to portray the Islamic Republic of Iran’s situation as critical,” Iran’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, said on Tuesday.

Iran has sustained increasing “pressure [from] outside the country with the aim of igniting protests inside,” the official added, adding that the country’s adversaries are seeking to drive a wedge between government and the people.

They would not succeed in doing so, however, since, Iran endured decades of external pressure and it’s stronger and more unified than before. The country also enjoys reliable and “active deterrent power,” which allows it to effectively counter external threats, Hatami stated.

Iran faced increasing pressure from the US following the decision of President Donald Trump to walk away from the landmark nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While Washington embarked on imposing further sanctions on Tehran, the European signees of the agreement seem to be trying to preserve the deal. European businesses, however, which also faced potential US sanctions, have already started to withdraw from the country.

Last month, protests erupted in Iran, with a number of people disrupting businesses at the historic Grand Bazaar district of Iranian capital. The unrest was triggered by a surge in US dollar exchange rates on the black market, according to the Tansnim news agency. Early in July, mass protests were also sparked in the southern city of Borazjan, over drinking water shortages.

Iran endured a wave of mass protests last New Year’s Eve, when rioters attacked government buildings and headquarters of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in several cities across the country. Some 20 people, both protesters and law enforcement, were reportedly killed during the unrest. Some 15,000 “troublemakers” participated in the protests back then, according to official data from the Guard.

While Tehran acknowledged the people’s right to demonstrate, it urged them to do so in a civil and a peaceful manner. Violent riots, however, were inspired from abroad and fueled by the CIA, in cooperation with Mossad and Saudi intelligence, Iranian authorities have claimed.

Tehran certainly made its point, as the unrest had received a vast support from a number of states, which openly cheered the riots. US President Donald Trump himself took to Twitter, encouraging the protest and expressing solidarity with the “freedom-hungry” Iranian people.

An imminent “regime change” in Iran was predicted by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who supported the protests and stated that once the government in Tehran is gone “Iranians and Israelis will be great friends once again.” Israel’s leader, however, firmly denied his alleged involvement in the unrest.

Netanyahu seems to be snatching every opportunity to address English-speaking Iranians through social media, encouraging them to overthrow the government. His latest rant followed the thrilling World Cup 1-1 draw between Iran and Portugal, and the Israeli PM urged Iranians to demonstrate the same “courage” against their authorities as their national team showed on the pitch.

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