Iran accuses Israel, Western spy services of plotting Iranian civil war

DUBAI, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Iran on Thursday accused its-arch enemy Israel and Western intelligence services of plotting to start a civil war in the Islamic Republic, now gripped by some of the biggest anti-government protests since the 1979 revolution.

"Various security services, Israel and some Western politicians who have made plans for civil war, destruction and the disintegration of Iran should know that Iran is not Libya or Sudan," Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian tweeted.

Tehran accuses Western adversaries of stoking nationwide unrest, which has been joined by Iranians from all walks of life since the Sept. 16 death of young Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini. She died while in custody after morality police arrested her for allegedly flouting the strict Islamic dress code.

The activist HRANA news agency said 362 people had been killed in the two-month-long protests, including 56 minors. It also reported that 56 members of the security forces had been killed, in addition to 16,033 people who were arrested.

Police Colonel Hassan Yousefi was stabbed to death on Thursday in Sanandaj, a city in the northwestern Kurdistan region, state media reported.

A video posted by the state news agency IRNA showed protesters attacking a municipality building and other public properties in the West Azerbaijan region.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaks during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Cagla Gurdogan

Iran was hit by a spate of attacks on Wednesday.

Seven people were killed in the southwestern city of Izeh in what state media described as a "terrorist attack".

Elsewhere, gunmen riding a motorcycle shot several members of the security forces in the central city of Isfahan, killing two people and injuring eight, according to state television.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which state TV blamed on "rioters".

Amini's death and the protests that followed have drawn international condemnation of Iran's clerical leadership, which has struggled to suppress the unrest and blamed foreign enemies and their alleged local agents.

Five people detained during protests have been sentenced to death, according to the judiciary's Mizan news agency.

Amnesty International, in a Twitter post, said Iranian authorities were seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people "in sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that's rocked Iran since September & deter others from joining the movement".

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Toby Chopra, Raissa Kasolowsky and Mark Heinrich

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