Iran supreme leader says protests a ‘conspiracy’

Iranian state media is quoting its supreme leader as calling recent mass protests against government-set gasoline prices rising a “conspiracy.”

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comment Wednesday while addressing members of the Revolutionary Guard’s all-volunteer Basij force, which help put down the demonstrations.

Khamenei in part blamed the U.S., without offering any evidence to support his claim.

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Iran’s government still hasn’t offered any statistics on injuries, arrests or deaths in the protests and security crackdown that followed government-set gasoline prices rising Nov. 15. Amnesty International says it believes the violence killed at least 143 people, something Iran disputes without offering any evidence to support its claims.