EghtesadOnline: A senior diplomat denounced US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s backing for rioters who took advantage of protests over gasoline price hike in Iran over the past few days, saying the US is not sympathetic toward the Iranian people but supports the spread of chaos.
On Friday, Iran started rationing gasoline and substantially increased the price of fuel, saying the generated revenue would be used to pay allowances to 60 million needy people from a total population of 82 million.
The decision sparked protests in several Iranian cities, some of which were marred by violence as opportunist elements tried to exploit the situation and ride the wave of peaceful protests against the fuel scheme.
Consequently, some rallies turned violent in a number of cities, with reports of clashes between security forces and rioters vandalizing public property, Financial Tribune reported.
Pompeo took to Twitter on the same day, supporting the violent acts of rioters: “As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you.”
Reacting to Pompeo’s “interventionist” remarks, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Sunday, “The dignified people of Iran are well aware that such hypocritical remarks contain no honest sympathy and the [violent] actions of a group of anarchists and saboteurs who are supported by the likes of him are by no means in line with the conduct and behavior of the majority of the understanding and insightful Iranian people,” ISNA reported.
Referring to the malicious intentions of the US government, especially its secretary of state, toward the Iranian people, Mousavi said, “It is interesting that [Pompeo] is sympathizing with the people who are under the pressure of US economic terrorism. He had already explicitly said that the people of Iran must be kept hungry until they give in to ‘our demands’.”
In an interview with BBC Persian last November, the US secretary of state said Iranian officials need to address Washington’s demands “if they want their people to eat”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed his American counterpart’s threat, stressing that the Islamic Republic will survive and even make progress despite US sanctions.
In a post on his official Twitter account, Zarif said Pompeo’s open threat to starve the Iranian nation was “a crime against humanity” and “a desperate attempt to impose US whims on Iran”.