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US State Department threatens actions against Iran on protests anniversary

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. (State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/Released)

The US on Sunday threatened further action against Iran’s “agents of repression” in a statement to mark the anniversary of anti-government protests.

On Nov. 15, 2019 Iranian demonstrators took to streets to complain about a rise in fuel prices. The protests swept through nearly 200 cities across Iran before a brutal government crackdown, often using live ammunition, killed hundreds of people.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the protesters as “brave” and accused the regime of “squandering its people’s wealth on terrorism abroad and oppression at home.”

“As the protesters exercised their freedom of expression, the regime responded by expressing its radical ideology of indiscriminate violence and terror,” Pompeo said.

“In doing so, the regime once again revealed its true nature and squandered any remaining claim to legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people.”

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“The regime killed as many as 1,500 Iranians, including at least 23 children,” he said.

The statement said the Iranian regime “terror” acts continue until today, and that it ignores its own laws and international obligations to the rights of the Iranian people.

“The world should understand that there are no moderates to empower in such an evil regime; only officials who defend and seek to profit from this machine of cruelty,” Pompeo said.

He also called on the Iranian regime to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and threatened further actions against the regime.

“The United States will continue to promote accountability by announcing further actions against the agents of repression later this week to bring a measure of justice to the Iranian people, the longest-suffering victims of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The demonstrations highlighted the drastic economic situation in Iran.

The Donald Trump administration has ramped up sanctions against the regime in an effort to force Tehran to change its behavior.

Iran has funded and trained destabilizing proxy forces in countries like Iraq, Yemen and Syria and ramped up its ballistic missile program.

It is also accused of carrying out missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo will visit the Kingdom this week as part of a tour of regional allies including the UAE and Israel.

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(c) 2020 the Arab News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.