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Britain, US failed to cause Iran unrest, claims Khamenei

Protests in Iran spread to more than 80 cities. (Handout via Reuters)
BEIRUT/LONDON: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed on Tuesday that Iran had foiled attempts by the US and Britain to create unrest during a wave of protests across more than 80 cities.
“The enemy now repeatedly makes moves and they are defeated each time,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by state media, according to Reuters. “It’s because of the resistance, because of the strong populist and national dam.”
Khamenei tweeted, “Once again, the nation tells the US, Britain, and those who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran from abroad that ‘you’ve failed, and you will fail in the future, too’.” 
The protests were widely linked to the economic and political situation in Iran as well as its foreign policy.
A UK Foreign Office spokeswoman declined to comment on Khamenei's claim, referring to a previous statement by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Johnson said on Jan. 1 that there should be “meaningful debate about the legitimate and important issues the protesters are raising.”
He added: “People should be able to have freedom of expression and to demonstrate peacefully within the law. We regret the loss of life that has occurred in the protests in Iran, and call on all concerned to refrain from violence and for international obligations on human rights to be observed.”
Protests in Iran spread to more than 80 cities since late December and at least 21 people died.
An Iranian reformist lawmaker said Tuesday that some 3,700 people were arrested in the days of the protests, offering a far higher number than authorities previously released, according to AP.

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