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Iran picks sides as anti-Israel protests rage across US universities: 'Deeply worried and disgusted'

Iran has officially picked its side amid a clash between anti-Israeli agitators and law enforcement officers at elite colleges and universities across the United States.

Iran has officially picked its side amid anti-Israeli protests that have erupted across elite U.S. colleges and universities.

As hundreds of students have been arrested at Columbia University, the University of Southern California, MIT, UT-Austin and others after disrupting campus facilities and trespassing, Iran is throwing its support behind the protesters.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed support for those speaking ill of Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also said the law enforcement response to the ongoing protests, and subsequent mass arrests, has them "deeply worried and disgusted."

"The suppression and harsh treatment of the American police and security forces against professors and students protesting the genocide and war crimes of the Israeli regime in various universities of this country is deeply worried and disgusted by the public opinion of the world," the foreign minister said on X, according to a translation. "This repression is in line with the continuation of Washington's full-fledged support for the Israeli regime and clearly shows the dual policy and contradictory behavior of the American government towards freedom of expression."

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The students are urging their respective schools to cut ties with Israel and are calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, which has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths of Palestinian lives.

Their protests have included antisemitic slogans and chants and even violence in some cases.

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The Iranian foreign minister applauded the protesters and echoed their request for the Biden administration to cease its support of Israel. 

"The White House must immediately stop supporting the Israeli regime's war crimes and be held accountable," Amir-Abdollahian said.

Iran’s support for the anti-Israel movement comes as hundreds of students continue to defy school administrators and local law enforcement orders to disperse and have been subsequently arrested.

At Emerson College in Boston, 108 people were arrested and four police officers suffered injuries that were not life-threatening at an encampment, Boston police said Thursday.

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At the University of Southern California, officers arrested another 93 people during a protest Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Officers at the University of Texas at Austin arrested 34 people at the behest of the university and Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

At New York University this week, police said 133 protesters were taken into custody, while more than 40 protesters were arrested Monday at an encampment at Yale University.

At Columbia University in New York, officers arrested more than 100 people after students defiantly erected an encampment. Columbia is considered the epicenter of the current anti-Israeli college demonstrations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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