Russia is training Iran how to crack down on protests using years of experience brutally crushing all opposition to Putin, the White House has warned.
John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said Wednesday it is ‘a fact’ that Tehran is getting expertise from Moscow in how to suppress demonstrations.
He issued the warning the same day that huge crowds took to the streets across Iran demanding the end of the regime following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini – beaten to death in police custody for refusing to wear a hijab.
It is just the latest sign of a growing alliance between pariah states Russian and Iran, after Tehran began selling Moscow suicide drones to use against Ukraine.
Russia is training Iran to crush protests that are currently taking place across the country against the Ayatollah’s rule, the White House has warned
Iran has faced weeks of growing demonstrations against the Islamist regime led by women who have been removing their compulsory hijabs (pictured)
Kirby, speaking at the White House, said: ‘We know that [Russia] may be considering some sort of support… we’ll watch where this goes.
We see signs that [Russia] may be considering the ability to help train Iranians on cracking down on protesters.’
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, added: ‘ We are concerned that Moscow may be advising Tehran on best practices.
‘Iran & Russia are growing closer the more isolated they become.
‘Our message to Iran is very very clear. Stop killing your people & stop sending weapons to Russia to kill Ukrainians.’
Protests in Iran have now being going on for 40 days after Mahsa – a young Iranian-Kurd – died in police custody after being arrested for failing to wear a hijab.
Iran claims she died of multiple organ failure linked to ‘underlying diseases’, but her family say she was beaten to death by the regime’s brutal morality police.
Her death drew people on to the streets where calls for justice have mingled with demands for an end to the country’s Islamist regime.
At least 13 people died Wednesday in a gun attack at the Aichi cemetery outside the city of Saqez, Iran’s semi-official IRNA news agency said, blaming Sunni terrorists.
But there were also reports circulating of clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
Witnesses and opposition groups say the demonstrations are the largest and most volatile that the Iranian regime has faced in its four-decade rule.
Moscow has years of experience in crushing dissent including protests against the Ukraine war (pictured), which it is now passing to Tehran
Russia is thought to be lending its expertise in return for Iranian-made suicide drones which it has been using to attack Ukraine (file image)
A broad alliance of opposition groups – including ethnic minorities, pro-democracy activists, and ordinary people who see no future for the country – are demanding an end to the repressive rule of the Ayatollah and his mullahs.
While there is little consensus about what exactly should come next for Iran, general demands include greater personal freedoms and better economic prospects.
Though the marches have remained largely peaceful, regime security have been accused of unleashing bloody reprisals that have left hundreds dead with thousands more detained.
Impartial data is impossible to obtain thanks in large part to an internet blackout across Iran, but the People’s Mujahedeen – one of the opposition groups – claims to have verified more than 250 deaths.
But they believe the true toll may be double that figure.
Meanwhile Russia has turned to Iran for support in its war on Ukraine after Putin’s army was fought to a standstill on the battlefield.
Moscow is now trying to hold on to the territory it has already gained and appears to be focusing on terrorising Ukraine’s citizens into accepting a peace deal.
Airstrikes over the past several weeks have focused on hitting Ukraine’s major cities and power network, causing rolling blackouts and depriving people of heating just as winter sets in.
But, with large parts of its missile stockpile used up, Russia has been forced to buy Shahed-136 suicide drones from Iran to use in the strikes.
The slow-moving drones are packed with explosives and use a two-stroke motor to fly to their targets before the engine cuts out, causing them to plunge from the sky.
Ukraine claims to have shot down the majority of drones launched at them so far, but some have made it through air defences – destroying around a third of the country’s power plants and killing dozens of civilians.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody after being detained in Tehran by Iranian morality police who believed she was wearing her hijab too loosely