Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, is blaming the United States for the protests occurring in the country following the death of Mahsa Amini who died in custody after being arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress code.

Khamenei was speaking at a graduation ceremony where he said that the death of the 22-year-old girl in police custody was heartbreaking. However, he also expressed his disapproval of the large-scale demonstrations following the death of Amini, reports said.

According to a news agency, he said “We were heartbroken, too. But the reaction to this incident, while no investigation has been done and nothing has been certain, should not have been this that some people come and make the streets insecure, cause the people to feel unsafe, harm the security, burn the Quran, remove the hijab of a woman, burn mosques and hussainiyahs, and arson banks and people’s cars,”.

The supreme leader claims the riots were planned by America along with certain other Iranians who are living abroad.

Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, was arrested in Tehran, on September 13, for not wearing a hijab in accordance with the strict law. She fell into a coma shortly after being detained. She died after three days from a heart attack. The death of Amini has led to widespread anti-government protests across the country.

The occasional usage of live ammunition by the security forces has led to several deaths along with many being injured and detained in the protests.

The nationwide protests over the death of Mahsa Amini have led to the death of over 100 people, according to the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised concerns as he said he was becoming “increasingly concerned” about reports of the death toll rising, “including women and children.”

Guterres added that he had been following the events closely. He urged the security forces to stop using “unnecessary or disproportionate force”. He also appealed for a prompt, impartial, and effective investigation into Mahsa Amini’s death by an independent competent authority.