In a televised speech on Friday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi dismissed US President Joe Biden’s promise to “free Iran,” telling his American counterpart that the country its secured freedom when the pro-Western Shah was deposed in 1979. Tehran has accused the US and its allies of instigating a wave of anti-government protests in recent months.
“Do not worry,” Biden told supporters at a rally in California on Thursday, “we’re gonna free Iran. They’re gonna free themselves pretty soon.”
Biden did not elaborate on what the US would do to “free Iran,” but the White House and lawmakers from both parties in Washington have previously made statements in support of anti-government demonstrations in Iran, and the US has imposed two rounds of sanctions on the Iranian government in response. The protests broke out after a 22-year-old woman died in police custody following her arrest for wearing an “improper” hijab
“I’m telling Biden that Iran was freed 43 years ago,” Raisi declared, addressing Biden’s comments. He referred to the revolution that ousted the American-backed Shah and led to the formation of the country’s current Islamist government.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called on Biden to “stop [his] hypocritical behavior.”
“The White House has increasingly promoted violence and terror in the recent riots in Iran, while at the same time it is trying to reach a nuclear agreement,” he wrote on Twitter.
Iranian officials have accused the US, as well as Saudi Arabia and Israel, of fomenting the ongoing protests and riots. Raisi has claimed that “these riots pave the ground for terrorist attacks,” referring to a mass shooting at a shrine last week that left 15 people dead.
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