Dubai , United Arab Emirates : Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded publicly on Monday to the biggest protests in Iran in years , breaking weeks of silence to condemn what he called ” rioting ” and accuse the US and Israel of planning the protests . Khamenei said he was ” heartbroken ” by the death of 22 – year old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police , which set off the nationwide protests .
However , he sharply condemned the protests as a foreign plot to destabilise Iran , echoing authorities ‘ previous comments . ” This rioting was plan nationwide protests sparked by Amini’s death entered a third week despite government’s efforts to crack down .
Iran’s state TV has reported the death toll from clashes between protesters and the security officers could be as high as 41 . The protests over Amini’s death have tapped into a deep well of grievances in Iran , including surging prices , unemployment , social restrictions , political repression .