EghtesadOnline: Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Iraqi and Lebanese people should pursue their rightful demands through legal means, while accusing the US and its allies of stoking unrest in the region.
"The main priority is to combat insecurity. People in [Iraq and Lebanon] should be aware that the enemy is seeking to undermine the legal structure of these countries and create a vacuum. The only way for people to have their rightful demands met is by pursuing them within the framework of the legal structure," the Leader was quoted as saying by his website.
He made the comments during a speech at a graduation ceremony for army cadets at Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Academy in Tehran, in reference to anti-government demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon.
Iraq has been gripped by an unprecedented wave of protests in recent weeks, with thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets, determined to upend the existing political order, Financial Tribune reported.
When protests first began, grievances centered on the lack of jobs and basic services. But demands for a better life soon evolved into calls for the government to resign, according to Guardian.
The country has suffered for decades under the rule of former dictator Saddam Hussein and UN sanctions, the 2003 US invasion and the ensuing civil war as well as the battle against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, which was declared won in 2017.
In Lebanon, Saad al-Hariri resigned as prime minister on Tuesday, declaring he had hit a "dead end" in trying to resolve a crisis unleashed by huge protests against the ruling class, Reuters reported.
Ayatollah Khamenei criticized foreign interference in regional countries and said, "The elements behind current malicious moves and dangerous hostilities are known. The United States and western intelligence agencies are working behind the scenes with the financial support of certain reactionary countries of the region."
“The Islamic Republic had been the target of similar conspiracies in the past. But fortunately, those plots were thwarted thanks to the nation's vigilance and the preparedness of Armed Forces," he said.
Praising the efforts of the country's military forces toward ensuring security, he said, "No economic, scientific, research and cultural activities can be carried out if there is no security in a society."
The Leader reiterated that Iran's defense policy is based on the principle of non-aggression, noting that this is what distinguishes the Iranian military from western militaries.
Ayatollah Khamenei also advised the nation and armed forces against putting their trust in ill-wishers of the Islamic Republic and asked them to keep a close watch on conspiracies.
"The enemy aims to influence the minds and calculations of officials and the public to distort their understanding of what best serves national interests," he said.