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Supreme leader says US behind unrest in Iran

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday that Washington was behind riots in the Islamic Republic and urged the nation and state officials to remain vigilant.

"The enemies bluntly support those adventurers who can become their mercenaries by perturbing people's security. Thus, the whole nation, the youth and and officials in particular, must remain vigilant," the supreme leader told a gathering of jubilant people in Varamin, south of Tehran.

US plans to stir up unrest and tensions in the Islamic Republic reveal the enemy's weakness since Washington has confessed it is unable to directly confront Iranians, Ayatollah Khamenei said.

"If Americans had been able to eliminate the Islamic establishment, they would not have hesitated even for a day; but the enemy has realized that it cannot do anything against the valiant Iranian nation, especially the brave youth.

"Thus, it (US) frankly declares that 'our strategy in confronting Iran is not a war and we have to create unrest in Iran'," Ayatollah Khamenei added.

The supreme leader also advised the country's "faithful and Hezbollahi youth to avoid the scenes which the troublemakers have prepared".

"It must not be allowed that the atmosphere becomes tense and a handful of individuals contaminate the society and universities by creating insecurity.

"However, if the Iranian nation decides to deal with rioters, they will act like in July 2, 1999," he said in reference to a mass show of support for the establishment following days of violent unrest, in which police, students and vigilantes clashed at the Tehran university campus and neighboring streets.

Ayatollah Khamenei's statements came as press reported on "illegal gatherings" held at a Tehran university hostel - the hotbed of 1999 riots - Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

According to the press, Tuesday unrest followed a peaceful gathering of students in protest to proposed privatization of universities.

The gathering turned ugly after a group of "non-students" joined the rally and started chanting political slogans, the press said, adding anti-riot police had to intervene to put an end to the mayhem.

Traffic near the Amirabad student dormitory came to a standstill as the protesters, numbering several hundred, took their rally to nearby streets, media said.

Officials were quick to condemn the unrest and speculate that foreign hands were involved to incite the protests.

Intelligence Minister Ali Younessi said security officials had arrested 80 people during overnight clashes between police and protesters.

Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh added voice to the speculation, saying that "the government believes foreign hands could be at work to stir up riots".

Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi Lari vowed that relevant institutions would deal with "hooliganism and illegal gatherings".


Ayatollah Khamenei said the US aim in stoking up the unrest was to impede Iran's efforts to reconstruct the country and tackle existing problems, thus lead to disgruntlement among the public.

"There is no reason for the Iranian people to become disappointed since we have a great nation, a rich country which enjoys a very good position, and a young population," the supreme leader added.

The supreme leader also lashed out at "those who portray the country's situation in a way that the US likes".

"This act either indicates negligence or constitutes treason and those who speak from the public podium must be very mindful of their statements so that they do not willingly or unwillingly fall in line behind the enemy's objectives," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Tehran is wary of certain voices in the US administration to provoke unrest in Iran, including through supporting opposition.

The Islamic Republic condemned a reportedly ceasefire agreement between the US military in Iraq and the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) following the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

... Payvand News - 6/12/03 ... --

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