Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi thanked Tehran University students on Wednesday for their warm welcome and for shunning riots, local media reported. He made his comments during a visit to the university on Students’ Day, the annual event which marks the 1953 killing by the Shah’s security forces of three students.
“I thank the dear and insightful students who did not allow the atmosphere of the university to become an atmosphere of riots,” said Raisi. “Those who are brutally and unjustly killing our loved ones are rioters. Our people and the student community understand the difference between protests and riots.”
The president accused the United States and its allies of working to destroy Iran in the same way that it destroyed both Syria and Afghanistan. “The Americans are seeking destruction,” he told the students, “and they want to weaken Iran. They want Iran to become another Syria and Afghanistan, but they have miscalculated.”
Iran has been rocked by protests since the death of Mahsa Amini on 16 September after she had been arrested over an alleged breach of the country’s dress code for women. Students have been at the forefront of the protests that erupted across the country.
A violent crackdown by the authorities has led to death of around 200 protesters, according to Iranian sources. Rights groups, however, put the number of those killed at 400.