Netanyahu denies role behind protests in Iran

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (File Photo/IANS)

Jerusalem, Jan 2  Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected comments by Iran President Hassan Rouhani, who blamed Israel for standing behind the anti-government protests in Iran.

Netanyahu’s remarks on Monday followed comments by Rouhani, who on Sunday accused the US and its two close allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, of fuelling the recent unrest in Iran, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a video footage posted on his official Facebook account, Netanyahu praised the Iranian people for taking to the streets to protest against the regime. However, he said that the accusations of Israeli involvement were “not only false; it’s laughable.”

The Israeli leader went on to slam Europe for not supporting the demonstrators and avoiding from a stance against the Iranian political leadership.

“Sadly, many European governments watch in silence as heroic young Iranians are beaten in the streets,” Netanyahu said. “That’s just not right,” he added.

Speaking to Iranian lawmakers, Rouhani played down the protest as “nothing,” according to the Iranian news agency, Fars.

He blamed the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia for involvement in the unrest in order to destabilize the country.

Iran’s “unity was a bullet (arrow) in their eyes and our progress and success in the world of politics and against the US and the Zionist regime was not bearable to them,” he said, adding that the Saudis “have blatantly said that we will create problems in Tehran.”

Commenting on US President Donald Trump support for the protest, Rouhani accused him of deception. “The guy who is totally against the Iranian nation has no right to sympathize with Iranians,” Rouhani said.

At least 12 people have been killed in rallies across Iran in protest against the regime.