TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Friday ridiculed a vow by US President Joe Biden to “free” Iran, as weeks of protests in the Islamic republic show little sign of abating.
Campaigning for mid-term elections in the US, Biden had on Friday said: “Don’t worry, we’re gonna free Iran. They’re gonna free themselves pretty soon.”
Iran has for more than six weeks been gripped by protests sparked by the death last month of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the morality police for a breach of the country’s strict dress code for women.
Addressing a gathering commemorating the November 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran by students, Raisi said: “the US says it wants to free Iran, but I must tell you that Iran liberated itself 43 years ago and will no longer submit to you.”
“The great people of Iran will not bow their heads to you,” he told thousands of people who shouted “Death to America, death to Israel, death to Great Britain.”
Protesters carried placards pledging loyalty to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and also held pictures of him aloft, along with images of the Islamic republic’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini.
Dozens have been killed, mainly protesters but also members of the security forces, according to the authorities, while hundreds of others — including women — have been arrested.
“The enemy is today targeting our solidarity and national unity, our security, our peace and our determination,” Raisi said.
“Our men and women, our young men and young women are determined and we will never allow you to carry out your satanic desires,” he warned the US.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian meanwhile took to Twitter on Friday to admonish the US president.
“Simultaneous with open support for violence and terror during recent riots in Iran, (the White House) is reaching out for an agreement,” he said, referring to long-running on-off attempts to revive a faltering 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
“Mr. Biden: end this hypocrisy,” he said.