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Iran's leader says Western agents not to blame, after all

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Agence France-Presse quotes his statement as saying:

"I do not accuse the leaders of the recent incidents to be subordinate to the foreigners, like the United States and Britain, since this issue has not been proven for me," Khamenei said in a statement read out by a newsreader. "This plot was defeated, since fortunately our enemies still do not understand the issue in Iran," added the statement, which was read over pictures of Khamenei. "Our enemies were given a slap in face by the Iranian nation, but they are still hopeful and they are pursuing the issue."

However, the Associated Press reports that Khamenei said that protest leaders were still acting in the interests of foreign powers "whether or not
its leaders know."

The ayatollah's dramatic shift appears to be a reaction to the growing anger in Iran over allegations that torture and rape have been used to extract false, televised confessions from a number of Iranians. There have been signs of discontent within Iran's conservative camp over the harsh crackdown on political opponents for weeks.

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