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Tehran on Tuesday clapped back at efforts by the U.S. and the European Union to aid nationwide protests that have swept Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody earlier this month.
Thousands of Iranian men and women have taken to the streets for 11 days in more than 150 cities across the country to protest the regime and its restrictive policies, particularly on women, and the White House and EU are doing what they can to help protestors continue by shoring up internet access.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani hit back at the U.S. following its push to circumvent internet blackouts in Iran.
Over the weekend, the EU also said it would consider all “options at its disposal” to crack down on Tehran.
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“The EU’s deafening silence and over-compliance with the U.S. unlawful unilateral sanctions as well as widespread and systematic violations of the human rights of innocent Iranian people…is emblematic of its double standards vis-à-vis human rights,” he claimed on Instagram Tuesday.
Similarly, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani accused the West of “opportunism” and claimed Washington was using the unrest to further weaken Tehran.
“By continuing the failed policy of maximum pressure and economic terrorism, the U.S. Administration is the biggest violator of the Iranian nation’s rights, and it pretends to be a supporter of the Iranian people by making unproven claims and adopting deceptive positions,” he said Friday.
It is unclear how many people have been arrested since the protests began with reports varying from over 1,200 to more than 10,000 according to National Council of Resistance of Iran.
President-elect of the opposition group, Maryam Rajavi, on Monday also claimed that 200 people have been killed, though other reporting has suggested the number may be close to 50.
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Washington, which announced a new round of sanctions on Tehran and its morality police last week, on Friday said it would allow U.S. tech companies to conduct business in Iran in order to enable Iranians to utilize the internet.
Social media sites like Instagram and WhatsApp have reportedly been blocked in Iran as Tehran looks for snuff out the protests.
However, Kanaani accused the U.S. of adding fuel to the fire as regime officials fear it could see protests amount to the 2019 demonstrations over gas prices that led to the Islamic Republic’s then-largest ever protests and some 1,500 dead.
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“Washington is always trying to weaken Iran’s stability and security although it has been unsuccessful,” Kanaani said in a statement reported Reuters Monday.
Kanaani accused the U.S. and its European allies of using Amini’s death to encourage “rioters” and of ignoring “the presence of millions of people in the streets and squares of the country in support of the system.”