Iran blames CIA for freedom protests

Iran on Thursday directly blamed a CIA official for a week of protests calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, as the strength of the demonstrations was uncertain with fewer reports of rallies.

The Trump administration has denied having any hand in the protests, and the CIA declined to comment.

It wasn?t immediately clear if the drop in reports of new demonstrations challenging Iran?s theocratic government meant the protests were subsiding or that the authorities? blocking of social media apps has managed to stop protesters from offering new images of rallies.

The demonstrations, which began Dec. 28 over the country?s struggling economy, have been the largest in Iran since the disputed 2009 presidential election. At least 21 people have been killed and hundreds arrested.

The CIA accusation came from Iran?s prosecutor general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, in a story by the state-run IRNA news agency. Montazeri alleged the official headed an operation that received intelligence support from Israel and financing from Saudi Arabia Iran?s two biggest regional adversaries.

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