Foreign Secretary says Iranian regime trying to blame 'everybody but themselves' as oppression of people 'bubbling up'

19 October 2022, 19:34 | Updated: 19 October 2022, 19:41

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly speaks about unrest in Iran

By Sam Sholli

James Cleverly has said the Iranian regime is "trying to blame everybody but themselves for what's going on" as its oppression of its own people is now "bubbling up".

His words have come amid protests in Iran which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Nick Ferrari asked Mr Cleverly: "How widespread do the British government understand the unrest in Iran to be?"

Mr Cleverly replied: "Well, this is something that I've been looking at very closely.

"What we are seeing is as grassroots manifestation of the frustration that the Iranian people - particularly women but not exclusively - have with the Iranian regime."

Mr Cleverly said the Iranian regime is "trying to blame everybody but themselves for what's going on".

He added: "The simple truth of the matter is their oppression of their own people is now bubbling up.

"They could and should conduct themselves very differently, and the Iranian people themselves are demanding that the leadership do so.

"We're keeping a very close eye on this. But I think the people that should be keeping an even closer eye still is the Iranian leadership and they should respond to the calls of their own people."

Earlier this week, Norway-based Iran Human Rights said the number of people killed in nationwide protests in Iran had increased to at least 215 people, including 27 children.

Iran Human Rights Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “The reckless state violence which has even targeted children and prisoners, along with the false narratives presented by Islamic Republic officials, make it more crucial than ever for the international community to establish an independent mechanism under the supervision of the UN to investigate and hold the perpetrators of such gross human rights violations accountable.”

In a statement last week, Amnesty International said: "The Iranian authorities’ unrelenting brutal crackdown on what many in Iran consider an ongoing popular uprising against the Islamic Republic system has involved an all-out attack on child protesters who have courageously taken to the streets in search of a future without political oppression and inequality.

"Since the eruption of the uprising on 16 September 2022, Iran’s security forces have killed with absolute impunity at least 23 children and injured many more in a bid to crush the spirit of resistance among the country’s youth and retain their iron grip on power at any cost."

Earlier this month, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed unrest on "America and the Zionist regime, and their employees".

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