IRVINE: US President Joe Biden said Friday he was “stunned” by the mass protests in Iran, which has seen its biggest wave of demonstrations in years after the death of a young woman arrested by morality police.
“I want you to know that we stand with the citizens, the brave women of Iran,” he said at a college in Irvine, California, addressing a group of protesters who had gathered holding “Free Iran” signs.
“It stunned me what it awakened in Iran. It awakened something that I don’t think will be quieted for a long, long time,” said Biden.
The protests were sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
More than 100 people have been killed since, according to Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights.
The unrest has continued despite what Amnesty International called an “unrelenting brutal crackdown” that included an “all-out attack on child protesters” – leading to the deaths of at least 23 minors.
Biden spoke briefly about the Iran protests ahead of a speech on lowering costs for American families in Irvine, near Los Angeles, which has a large Persian community.
“Women all over the world are being persecuted in various ways, but they should be able to wear in God’s name what they want to wear,” said Biden.
Iran “has to end the violence against its own citizens simply exercising their fundamental rights,” he added.
“I want to thank you all for speaking out,” he told the local Persian community.