Angry protests rocking Iran under the slogan of “Woman, Life, Liberty” have prompted senior Iranian officials to resort to “conspiracy theories” to justify their confrontation with anti-regime demonstrations.
Iran’s ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi said Sunday that a “conspiracy” by the country’s enemies had “failed,” as anti-government protests spilled into their third week.
“At a time when the Islamic republic was overcoming economic problems to become more active in the region and in the world, the enemies came into play with the intention of isolating the country, but they failed in this conspiracy,” he said in a statement released by the presidency.
Authorities have imposed a security siege on universities that have been transformed into a center for protests for a second day in a row.
Protests that have erupted in the province of Kurdistan in northwestern Iran have turned into mass demonstrations demanding the overthrow of the ruling establishment.
Thousands of Iranian university students have taken their demonstrations to campus squares and grounds, raising slogans that condemn the country’s cleric-led regime, especially Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
They also raised slogans demanding the release of those detained during demonstrations.
Despite the youthful and popular protests, Iranian authorities have continued to crack down on protestors with security forces using tear gas, batons, and live ammunition.
Several universities witnessed protests in the cities of Tehran, Yazd, Mashhad, Kashan, Kerman, Kurdistan, Shiraz, Najafabad, Kermanshah and Sari.
Until late Monday, more than 20 Iranian cities witnessed skirmishes between police forces and protesters.
The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, has acknowledged rallies erupting in the University of Tehran.
“Students chanted sharp political and cultural slogans,” reported Fars.
At Tehran’s Allameh Tabataba’i University, students formed gatherings that are parallel to the Basij, which is one of the five forces of the Revolutionary Guard.
According to Fars, similar gatherings took place at the Sharif University of Technology and the all-women Alzahra University.
Upon nightfall, security forces cordoned Sharif University. Video footage and recordings circulated on social media have shown riot police using gunfire and tear gas against demonstrators there. They also showed security forces arresting some protestors.
University students in Shiraz have also demanded that more Iranian people join the anti-regime rallies.