TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday deplored the persecution of black people by the US police, noting that such use of force is an example of police’s “oppressive power”.
“In the US, whose president is now a black man, black people are being persecuted, ignored and humiliated by police, as such behavior has also caused unrests,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in a gathering of Iranian police commanders and officials, held in Tehran on Sunday.
This is an example of “oppressive might” of the police force, the Leader added.
Although the “might of police” is necessary for ensuring security in a society, Iranian police do not seek a Hollywood-style power as in the West and the US, the Leader at the same time noted.
The comments came after the eruption a new wave of unrest in the US following the unexplained death of a black man in police custody in Baltimore, Maryland. 25-year-old Freddie Gray died on April 19 after suffering a spinal injury while in custody.
With his death, Gray joined a long list of black men who have died under questionable circumstances during police encounters in recent months. Last year, weeks of protests followed the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City.
Elsewhere in the meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei said the favorite style of might in Iran entails “power along with justice and mercy.”
“The Law Enforcement is the symbol of sovereignty and security in the Islamic Republic; therefore, it has to have might, but such might does not mean persecution and uncontrolled move,” the Leader said.
One of the main functions of police forces in Iran, Imam Khamenei explained, is to ensure “psychological security” which he said overrides the need for countering physical insecurities.
“The Law Enforcement needs to have plans for different aspects of insecurity and should counter them,” the Supreme Leader pointed out.