This image grab from a UGC video made available on October 12, 2022 shows women protesters being roughly handled by Iranian security forces in the city of Rasht, in Iran's northern Gilan province. Image Credit: AFP

TEHRAN: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday accused the United States of resorting to a “policy of destabilisation” against the Islamic republic which is gripped by protests over Mahsa Amini’s death.

A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since the 22-year-old, an Iranian of Kurdish origin, died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to dozens of deaths, mostly of protesters but also members of the security forces. Hundreds have also been arrested.

“Following the failure of America in militarisation and sanctions, Washington and its allies have resorted to the failed policy of destabilisation,” Raisi said at a summit in Kazakhstan.

Iranians had “invalidated the American military option and... dealt a humiliating defeat to the policy of sanctions and maximum pressure,” he said, quoted by his office.

Washington has imposed rounds of crippling sanctions on Tehran since 2018 when then US president Donald Trump withdrew his country from a nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

“What has caused the success of the Iranian people and terrified the domineering powers is the nation’s attention to progress based on its inner strength,” Raisi said.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also accused the Islamic republic’s arch-foes the United States and Israel of fomenting the “riots”.

“Today, everyone confirms the involvement of the enemies in these street riots,” Khamenei said on Wednesday.

“The actions of the enemy, such as propaganda, trying to influence minds, creating excitement, encouraging and even teaching the manufacture of incendiary materials, are now completely clear,” he added.

The United States last week slapped sanctions on seven Iranian officials for their roles in the “repression” of the protests.

US President Joe Biden said his administration would “continue holding Iranian officials accountable and supporting the rights of Iranians to protest freely.”

Iran accused the US leader of “hypocrisy” in invoking human rights to impose fresh measures.