Iranian army chief says he’s awaiting orders to intervene in protests

Brig. Gen. Kioumars Heydari dismisses demonstrators as ‘flies,’ says ‘they will have no place in our country’ once Khamenei gives the signal

Iranian Brig. Gen. Kioumars Heydari (Foad Ashtari/Tasnim News Agency, Wikipedia, CC BY 4.0)
Iranian Brig. Gen. Kioumars Heydari (Foad Ashtari/Tasnim News Agency, Wikipedia, CC BY 4.0)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s army ground forces commander, Brig. Gen. Kioumars Heydari, said Thursday his troops were awaiting orders from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to intervene against protests over Mahsa Amini’s death.

Street violence flared across Iran after the 22-year-old Amini died on September 16, following her arrest by the morality police for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

Describing the protesters as “flies,” Heydari warned that the army stood ready to intervene alongside the police and Basij militia if ordered to do so.

“The conspirators, who today are like puppets in the hands of the enemy, should keep in mind that we will not allow the sacred blood of the martyrs to be trampled on,” the Mehr news agency quoted Heydari as saying.

“We will stop them if they try to take to the streets.”

Heydari said the army’s failure to intervene so far should not be misinterpreted.

“If today the revolutionary community is not responding, it is because that is what the supreme leader has decided,” the general told a ceremony in eastern Iran.

“But the day he gives the order to deal with them, they will have no place in our country.”

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