The top Iranian governing body was filled with chants of “death to America” in another demonstration of pro-regime sentiment that remains in the country as protests demanding an end to the Islamic republic continue to spread.
In a video posted to social media, members of the Iranian Consultative Assembly gather at the center of the assembly chamber, unifying in chants as they raise their fists. They first declare themselves “ready,” then demand, “death to the opposition,” soon changing to “death to Israel, death to America.”
The sentiment indicates another reason why the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, continues to flounder despite efforts by the Biden administration to prioritize it even at the expense of human rights. State Secretary Antony Blinken last month said that discussions had taken a “step backward” from where they had been, and it remained unclear whether the two nations might come to any agreement.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have continued to increase as Iran grapples with widespread protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Tehran claimed that the U.S. and other nations have stirred up the protests for their own advantage, making it seem even more unlikely the nations might find any common ground for a nuclear deal moving forward.
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The morality police arrested Amini for allegedly not properly wearing her hijab (headscarf), and they claimed she fell into a coma, from which she died three days later. Her family disputed the claim, instead saying they saw evidence that she had been beaten.
Those protests, which started just over two weeks ago, have now spread to over 140 Iranian cities, according to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. NGO Iranian Human Rights on Sunday reported that at least 133 people died, with over 40 killed on Friday alone at a gathering in Zahedan.
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Lisa Daftari, The Foreign Desk’s editor-in-chief and Middle East expert, told Fox News Digital that the regime’s campaign to blame other countries for the protests is “not surprising.”
“The Achilles’ Heel of this government has always been its people,” Daftari said. “They’ve always been fearful of the people fomenting a grassroots revolution like the one we are seeing on the streets of Iran. Remember, that’s how the mullahs came to power in 1979 and they know that may be the way the people topple this current regime.”
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“The regime is cracked, fragmented and is suffering tremendous blows as the Iranian people continue their protests,” she added. “What’s very telling is how long the protests have lasted and how widespread they are in all parts of Iran – even in religious cities like Qom- they have lost tremendous support among their constituents.”
The anti-regime demonstrations, which have occurred not just in Iran but in countries across the world, have called for the removal of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. Iranian officials have accused the U.S. and other nations of stirring up the protests, which has led to pro-regime counter-demonstrations.
Pro-regime demonstrators gathered on Friday after prayers to condemn the protests, waving posters with Khamenei’s face on them and Iranian flags as they, too, chanted for death to America and Israel. The government claimed the demonstrations were spontaneous.
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The Iranian military promised to “confront the enemies” of the regime to ensure security, with video showing soldiers in pursuit of protesters at night. Iran has also disrupted internet access and tightened restrictions on popular platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, which can be used to organize rallies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.