Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized the British government in light of the recent riots in London. Since Friday, those riots have shaken the British capital and have now spread to other British cities.
It all started with the fatal police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan. His family and friends staged a peaceful demonstration to demand an investigation into his death, but that demonstration later turned violent with the intervention of police. Many analysts have blamed recent austerity measures for the riots.
Ahmadinejad spoke out against the government’s reaction to the riots, saying: “This violent behaviour against the people is not acceptable, and we are fearful of a social explosion in the West that may turn out of control.”
He added: “Those who pretend to be models of human rights, freedom and democracy, why would they behave in such a manner with people? The onslaught against unarmed people is unacceptable.”
Ahamdinejad once again criticized “the hold that the West has on the world,” saying: “I have said many times that the main root of today’s problems is the administration that is being forced on humanity.”
Ahmadinejad added that the British government is using the terms “looters” and “rioters” to describe the uprising, and added: “Can it be that Britain has so many drug dealers and smugglers? If so, the United Nations should put an iron fence around England.”
He added: “We advise them to hear the voice of the people, listen to their demands and allow your people the freedom and opportunity to have input into their country’s affairs.”
In the wake of Ahmadinejad’s controversial re-election in 2009, protests erupted across Iran over allegations of vote fraud. Iranian-British relations became very tense, as Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, accused the British of fomenting the protests.
Iran arrested and charged British Embassy employees in Iran, accusing Hossein Ressam of “espionage and participation in promoting street protests in Tehran.” Eight other embassy staff were also briefly arrested.
Last September, espionage charges against Ressam were dropped, and his four-year prison term was reduced to a one-year suspended sentence.
On several occasions, Iranian Parliament has discussed severing diplomatic ties with Britain, but so far their frigid relations endure.