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Iran Supreme Leader calls recent mass protests a ‘conspiracy’

Published: Updated:

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday claimed without evidence that recent protests across the Islamic Republic over government-set gasoline prices rising were part of a “conspiracy” involving the US, as authorities began to acknowledge the scale of the demonstrations.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comment while addressing members of the Revolutionary Guard’s Basij force, which help put down the demonstrations.

In his comments reported by state media, Khamenei said the Iranian people extinguished “a very dangerous deep conspiracy that cost so much money and effort.” He praised the police, the Guard and the Basij for “entering the field and carrying out their task in a very difficult confrontation.”

Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, described the protests as being orchestrated by “global arrogance,” which he uses to refer to the US He described America as seeing the price hikes as an “opportunity” to bring their “troops” to the field but the “move was destroyed by people.”

Wednesday marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Basij. Videos from the protest purport to show plainclothes Basij officials and others on motorcycles beating and detaining protesters.