US President Joe Biden vows to 'free Iran' during campaign speech

Seven weeks of protests have gripped Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's morality police

US President Joe Biden did not specify what action the US would take in Iran. AFP
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US President Joe Biden has vowed to “free” Iran — adding that protesters will “free themselves pretty soon” — during a campaign speech in California.

Seven weeks of protests have gripped Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in the custody of Iran's morality police. The mass uprisings have triggered a violent clampdown by authorities.

“Don't worry, we're gonna free Iran. They’re gonna free themselves pretty soon,” said Mr Biden of anti-government demonstrators during a campaign rally for US Representative Mike Levin at MiraCosta College near San Diego, as dozens of demonstrators gathered holding banners supporting Iranian protesters.

Mr Biden did not specify what actions would be taken by the US in Iran.

The White House's National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US said on Wednesday it would try to remove Iran from the 45-member UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) over the government's denial of women's rights and brutal clampdown on protests.

Since the protests began, the US has ceased negotiations with Iran’s government on resuming an agreement to stop the country’s nuclear weapons programme.

It has also accused Tehran of supplying Russia with weaponry for its Ukraine invasion.

On Thursday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US, Europe and Israel of waging a “war” against the country during the protests.

His comments came after rights groups said an 18-year-old in the north-western city of Sanandaj had become the latest teenager to be killed by security forces.

Government security forces have been accused of widespread abuses in the continuing clampdown on protesters.

The Norway-based group Iran Human Rights says 176 people have been killed so far.

Watch: Iran Guards commander warns protesters 'today is the last day of riots'

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami, speaks during a funeral ceremony in Shiraz, Iran October 29, 2022.  Majid Asgaripour / WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

“The events over the past few weeks weren’t simple street riots. The enemy started a hybrid war. The US, Israel, some sly, vicious European powers and certain groups used whatever they had to do this,” said Mr Khamenei in English.

He said that he had no issue with the youth taking part in protests, which he said were out of “excitement, emotion and some negligence in understanding”, but claimed “the main directors” had then hatched plots to co-opt this.

Updated: June 13, 2023, 7:51 AM