Iran: US won't provoke ethnic unrest in Iran

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that the United States would fail to provoke ethnic strife in the Islamic republic, after several days of protests over a cartoon that insulted the country's largest minority. "Trying to provoke ethnic and religious unrest is the last desperate shot by enemies," said Khamenei in a televised speech broadcast by state-run television. "Enemies of the Iranian nation have earlier announced that they have allocated some money for this purpose," he said, referring to a Bush administration request to Congress for US $75 million to promote democracy in Iran. Earlier Sunday, hundreds of Azeris staged a demonstration in front of the Iranian parliament to protest the cartoon, which was published by a state-owned newspaper two weeks ago.