Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has broken his silence over the country's biggest protests in years.
The unrest, ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini after being arrested by Iran's morality police, is flaring up for a third week.
Breaking weeks of silence, Khamenei condemned what he called “rioting” and accused the United States and Israel of planning the protests.
On Monday, Iran's top technology university was shut down after an hours-long standoff between students and the police. Hundreds of young people were arrested.
Speaking to a cadre of police students in Tehran, Khamenei said he was “deeply heartbroken” by the death of 22-year-old Amini, calling it a “tragic incident”. However, he lambasted the protests as a foreign plot to destabilise Iran.
“This rioting was planned,” he said. “These riots and insecurities were designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their employees.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging Iranian authorities to show "maximum restraint, maximum containment".