Iran condemns US 'interference' as protests rock Cuba

Iran condemns US ‘interference’ as protests rock Cuba

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Tehran: The United States’ enemy Iran accused the United States of “interfering” in Cuba’s internal affairs after unprecedented protests attacked this Communist-ruled island that has been sanctioned by the United States for decades.

As Cuba has experienced its worst economic crisis in 30 years, and a chronic shortage of electricity, food and medicine, protests spontaneously erupted in several cities on Sunday.

“While the United States is primarily responsible for the numerous problems of Cuba’s people, it has now come out in support of Cuba’s protests,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement late Tuesday.

He accused Washington of “seeking to interfere in the country’s internal affairs” and said Tehran, also under punishing US sanctions, “expresses solidarity with the people and government of Cuba”.

One person died and more than 100 others, including independent journalists and dissidents were arrested during the protests, with some remaining in custody on Tuesday, observers and activists said.

Havana, under US sanctions since 1962, has blamed the show of discontent on Washington pursuing a “policy of economic suffocation to provoke social unrest”.

Since the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah backed by the United States in 1979, Iran and Cuba have often provided diplomatic support to each other. The Islamic Republic has condemned the US embargo against Cuba, and Havana has supported Tehran’s civil nuclear power rights.

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