The Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting, in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)
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As nationwide protests have shaken Iran over the last week, the Islamic Republic increasingly has blamed its foreign foes for fomenting the unrest.The U.S. government believes that hard-liners initiated the demonstrations as a means to pressure President Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate cleric within Iran's political system.Iran Thursday directly blamed a CIA official for the protests.Iranian authorities announced the arrest of a protest leader initially described as European who later was identified as an Iranian dual national.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, long a hawk on Iran, also has been applauding the protests.Iran also violently suppressed the 2009 mass protests that followed the disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a crackdown that saw thousands detained, dozens killed and others tortured.Iran's government also organized two days of mass demonstrations across the country Wednesday and Thursday as a sign of strength and to reassure those worried about the unrest. THE FACTS: While the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis colors Americans' thoughts on Iran, perhaps no event more affects Iranian beliefs about the U.S. than the 1953 coup.
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