This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused the United States of duplicity in the wake of the death of an unarmed African-American in police custody in Minnesota.
In a speech in Tehran on June 3 to mark the anniversary of the 1989 death of the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei claimed in the televised address that “they kill people in an obvious crime and they do not offer an apology while claiming [to support] human rights.”
Iranian officials have in recent days expressed support for protesters that have taken to the streets of dozens of U.S. cities to denounce racial injustice.
Iran is often criticized by rights groups over serious human rights abuses, including the November killing of protesters during antiestablishment demonstrations sparked by a sharp rise in fuel prices.
An Iranian lawmaker said earlier this week that 230 people were killed in the crackdown, though rights group Amnesty International has said at least 300 died.
Iran routinely uses force to crush anti-government protests in the country.
“Apparently, the African-American man who was killed there was not a human being,” Khamenei added in the speech, which took place as part of a major annual commemoration for Khomeini that was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Khamenei described George Floyd’s death on May 25, including his “I can’t breathe” cries, and said that the incident was nothing new.
“This is the American nature. This is what Americans have been doing to the whole world,” said Khamenei, who has the last word in the Islamic republic.