After Iran was rocked by anti-government protests throughout the country, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his “deep respect and admiration to the great Iranian nation” for quashing “the enemy’s movement with its magnificent display,” during a meeting with thousands of members of Iran’s Basij paramilitary force on Wednesday.
The meeting took place during Basij, a week-long glorification of the volunteer paramilitary force associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) that mostly deals with domestic security and threats, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL).
Khamenei claimed that “the enemies” spent a large amount of money designing the “conspiracy, and were waiting for an opportunity to implement it with destruction, killing, and villainy,” adding that they thought they could use the hike in gas prices as an opportunity to carry out the “conspiracy.” “However, the Iranian nation quashed the enemy’s movement with its magnificent display,” he said.
“The magnificent movement of the Iranian nation – that began in Zanjan and Tabriz, even spread to some villages, and ended in Tehran – was a hard blow to Global Arrogance and Zionism, forcing them to retreat,” said Khamenei, stressing that the actions of the Iranian nation were more important than the actions of the police, the IRGC and the Basij.
The supreme leader called the week of protests – during which, according to Radio Farda, over 140 people were killed by security forces and up to 7,000 people were arrested throughout the country – “the highlight of the Iranian nation’s magnificence and greatness.”
Khamenei pointed out that the Basij was formed by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini, in the wake of the capture of the American embassy in Tehran after the US began threatening Iran. “He turned that threat into an opportunity,” said Khamenei, adding that “the main essence and logic behind the Basij is to eliminate threats and to turn them into opportunities.”
“The Islamic system is based on Islamic principles and values, and Islam is the outspoken champion of justice and freedom,” stressed Khamenei. “On the other hand, the Domineering Powers — led by tyrants — are fundamentally opposed to freedom and justice.” To emphasize this point, Khamenei pointed out that in the “Domineering Powers,” the majority of wealth belongs to a limited group and that the rest of the population must work too hard.
Khamenei compared the Basij to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Popular Mobilization Forces (known as the Hashd al-Sha’abi) in Iraq.
“A large and magnificent group such as the Basij in Iran, or similar examples in other countries, are exposed to the hostility of the Domineering Powers more than other groups, in the same way that the Hashd al-Sha’abi in Iraq and the Hezbollah in Lebanon are opposed and confronted,” said Khamenei.
Earlier, Khamenei referred to the protests as the “action of thugs,” stressing that these actions “do not solve any problem.” Officials have previously blamed “thugs” linked to exiles and foreign foes – the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia – for stirring up the unrest.
State authorities warned “rioters” of severe punishment if unrest continued. They said late last week that disturbances had ceased, although unverified videos, posted on social media after restrictions on Internet access were partially lifted, suggested sporadic protests were continuing in some places.
Source » jpost