Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday accused the US of seeking to manipulate the people by supporting protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, as authorities ordered an investigation into a video showing officers savagely beating a protester that rights groups said exposed the sheer brutality of the police repression against protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.
The Islamic Republic has been rocked by six weeks of protests that flared over Amini’s death after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code for women.
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In a joint statement last week, Iran’s intelligence ministry and its Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence services accused Washington of conspiring with its allies to “spark riots” in the country.
“The reports of intelligence agencies show that the enemy had established a plan for Tehran and the country’s large and small cities,” Khamenei said, referring to the US.
He was speaking to a group of schoolchildren, invited to mark the anniversary of the start of the 1979 hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran.
“Their plan, their objective is to get the Iranian people to follow them, and the opinion of the Iranian people to become identical to the opinion of the British and American leaders,” Khamenei said.
The protest movement that erupted over Amini’s death has spread to schools where, according to online videos, girls have removed their headscarves and chanted anti-government slogans.
Separately, a shocking video that surfaced late on Tuesday on social media, shot at night on a mobile phone purportedly in a district of Tehran, showed a squad of around a dozen policemen in an alley kicking and beating a man with their batons, as others officers on motorbikes looked on.
The man initially tried to cover his head with his hands, before the sound of a gunshot is heard and he is run over by a police motorbike. His motionless body is then abandoned.
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“This shocking video sent from Tehran is another horrific reminder that the cruelty of Iran’s security forces knows no bounds,” Amnesty International said.
“Amid a crisis of impunity, they’re given free rein to brutally beat and shoot protesters,” it added, calling on the UN Human Rights Council to “urgently investigate these crimes”.
Iran’s police force announced in a statement published by the state news agency IRNA that an order had been issued to “investigate the exact time and place of the incident and identify the offenders.” “The police absolutely do not approve of violent and unconventional behaviour and will deal with the offenders according to the rules,” the statement added.