Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday (June 4th) accused the “enemy”, notably the United States, of exploiting the demonstrations that have erupted in the country in recent weeks against the Islamic Republic of Iran, against the high cost of living. and corruption. “Today, the enemy relies heavily on popular protests to strike at the Islamic system,” Khamenei said in a televised address.

This statement comes after a wave of protests against rising prices of basic necessities. This protest movement, against a backdrop of accusations of incompetence and corruption, was revived last week by the collapse of a building which killed at least thirty-seven people in Abadan, in the province of Khuzestan. , in the west of the country.

“[The enemy] hopes to turn the people against the Islamic Republic through psychological work, internet activities, money and the mobilization of mercenaries,” Khamenei said, without further explanation. “Americans and Westerners have miscalculated in the past (…). Even today, they make a miscalculation thinking they can pit the Iranian nation against the Islamic Republic,” he added.

‘Punish’ those responsible for a deadly collapse

Mr. Khamenei made the remarks in the south of the Iranian capital, Tehran, in front of a crowd gathered at the mausoleum dedicated to Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, who died on June 3, 1989. He also reiterated his call for “punish” those responsible for the May 23 building collapse.

Nightly demonstrations took place after the tragedy in several cities to demand prosecution of those responsible for this disaster, one of the deadliest in years in Iran. Justice claimed to have arrested thirteen people, including the mayor of Abadan, accused of being “responsible” for the tragedy.

Tensions after the seizure of two Greek tankers

In addition, Mr. Khamenei dismissed accusations that Iran had “stolen” oil during the May 27 seizure by Iranian forces of two Greek-flagged tankers in the Gulf. Athens denounced acts “akin to piracy”; the United States, France and Germany urged Iran to release the ships.

“[The enemy] accuses Iran of theft (…), but it was you who stole our oil”, denounced the Supreme Leader. “Iranian oil was stolen off Greece, then the brave [soldiers] of the Islamic Republic made up for it by seizing the enemy tanker. »

Under European sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine, the Greek authorities had themselves seized a Russian tanker on April 19 off the island of Euboea. The tanker’s cargo was then estimated at 115,000 tons of Iranian oil.