US Vice President Joe Biden stated that his government would impose “additional consequences” on anyone guilty of violence against Iranian demonstrators, who have been on the streets for over two weeks in response to the murder of a 22-year-old woman in Tehran.
In a statement released Monday evening, Vice President Joe Biden expressed “deep concern” about reports of an increasing assault on nonviolent protests in Iran, particularly students and women demanding equal rights and fundamental human decency.
This week, the United States will impose further penalties on anyone responsible for violence against peaceful demonstrators. We will continue to hold Iranian leaders responsible and defend the freedom of Iranians to demonstrate peacefully, he added.
The continuing demonstrations in Iran were prompted by the murder of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the so-called morality police in mid-September for wearing “inappropriate dress” in the nation’s capital.
The killing of Amini sparked a backlash against the Iranian government, with protestors seeking more civil rights, including eliminating the dress code for women.
Authorities have not given an official death toll, but it is suspected that dozens of people have been slain, and many others have been detained.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, made his first remarks on the anti-government rallies on Monday, accusing the United States and Israel of being responsible for the turmoil and attempting to halt Iran’s “development.”
Khamenei addressed graduating cadets at a police university in Tehran, “I declare openly that these riots and this insecurity were orchestrated by the United States and the occupying, phony Zionist state [Israel] and those who are paid by them, with the assistance of certain treasonous Iranians overseas.”