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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Iran vows tough response to Trump’s ‘psychotic episodes’

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted Trump

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TEHRAN, Iran - Continuing its retort at U.S. President Donald Trump’s support for Iranian anti-government protesters, on Tuesday, the Iranian leader blasted Trump.

On Tuesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted Trump, calling him “unstable” for grandstanding when he tweeted support for protesters rallying against the government during days of unrest that rocked the Islamic Republic. 

Khamenei tweeted, “This man who sits at the head of the White House – although, he seems to be a very unstable man – he must realize that these extreme and psychotic episodes won’t be left without a response.”

During the week-long protests that saw 21 demonstrators becoming victims of the violence that ensued, Trump had expressed solidarity with the anti-government protesters, who raised their voice against high food prices.

Last week, Trump posted on Twitter, “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime… The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”

In his comments, the Iranian leader appeared to be taking a cue from the recently released best-selling tell-all by journalist Michael Wolff, about the Trump White House that characterized the president and his administration as “an idiot surrounded by clowns.”

Over the weekend, Trump took to Twitter to boast of his intellect and said, “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star… to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius… and a very stable genius at that!”

Unimpressed, Khamenei blamed the U.S., U.K. and Israel for instigating the protests in an effort to overthrow the government.

He also declared that the effort has been thwarted.

Khamenei also insinuated that Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival, had helped fund the unrest. 

He said in a public speech, “The plot was engineered by America and Zionists. For some months they have been planning to start the [protests] in small towns and then move towards the centre [Tehran], The money belonged to the moneybags [Saudi Arabia] in the Persian Gulf . . . as the Americans are not ready to spend money as long as they exist.”

He added that the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an exiled Iranian opposition group, was used as “pawns” to foment the protests. 

While the MEK is the Islamic republic’s most organised opposition movement, it is believed to have little support inside the country.

The U.S. has dismissed suggestions it had any role in the unrest, which subsided towards the end of last week after hundreds of people were arrested.

Meanwhile, Khamenei added, “Once again, the nation tells the US, Britain, and those who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran from abroad that ‘you’ve failed, and you will fail in the future, too.’”

Khamenei’s statement comes days after the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard declared that its forces had put an end to the protests that stretched for more than a week and resulted in the deaths of 22 people and the arrests of hundreds.

Khamenei added that the protesters were “playing with fireworks,” but admitted citizens have the right to air there concerns.

The statement however, baffled many experts since the leader usually takes a hard-line approach to dissent.

Khamenei was quoted as saying, “These concerns must be addressed. We must listen, we must hear. We must provide answers within our means,” hinting that not only the government of President Hassan Rouhani, but his own clerical leadership must also respond.

He said, “I’m not saying that they must follow up. I am also responsible. All of us must follow up.”

On Tuesday, one of the country's lawmakers, Tehran member of parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi, claimed that roughly 3,700 people were arrested including 40 to 68 students, in six days of protests that broke out in late December.

The number is far higher than the 450 people Iranian authorities previously said were detained, while U.S. officials put the number held at 1,000.

Sadeghi added that "due to the fact that several security organizations had made the arrests, it will take some time to give an accurate count.”


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