Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, made the remarks on Sunday in a detailed interview with Iran’s Arabic-language television news network al-Alam.
“Our dear youths, who have been deceived [into joining the riots] should realize that foreigners, such as the United States, Israel, and, unfortunately, Saudi Arabia have formed a sinister triangle in this matter,” he said.
Protests erupted in Iran after a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died at the hospital three days after she collapsed in police custody. The protests were soon derailed and turned into violent riots by extremist elements.
An official report published earlier this month said Amini’s death had been caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.
“Some [other] countries have also been meddling in this affair from a distance, such as Britain,” Tangsiri said, saying London would always try to wade into such matters as soon as they happen.
He pointed out how various separatist forces began trying to exploit the situation, saying, “All of this bears one message, and the message is that they want to break off some parts of Iran.”
The anarchist and separatist elements would, however, only get to bear witness to realization of their goals “in their dreams,” the commander said, downplaying attempts at sowing unrest and division throughout the country.
“Such a thing would not happen as long as there is [even] only one [Iranian] warrior alive…only one person, who likes [Iran’s] Revolution, Islam, and his or her country,” he added.
Compared to others events since the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution so far, the riots “are not a serious issue,” Tangsiri said, noting, “We have been forced to tackle more serious and profound cases throughout these years….”
“They (the rioters and their supporters) can only hurt us a little, but cannot wear us down,” he observed.
Tangrisi cited the example of Iran’s victory during the 1980-88 war that had been imposed on the Islamic Republic by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was receiving all-out support from the United States and its allies.
The Iranian forces braved the American navy in the Persian Gulf during the war, he said. “The Americans were slapped in the face…by the Corps’ Navy.”
Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic should still work towards “enhancing its progress” so it can “blind the enemy,” Tangsiri said, citing Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
“By God’s grace, we are going to witness progress among the IRGC and the Army’s forces every day,” he said.