ERBIL — In response to Tehran’s accusations, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuted on Monday his country’s involvement in the ongoing protests across Iran.
Thousands of Iranians continue to protest clerical rule of the Islamic Republic of Iran, government corruption and dire economic situation on the fifth day in a row. Since the beginning of the demonstrations, US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed support for the peaceful protests of Iranians, while Hassan Rouhani accused them both of triggering instability in his country.
Netanyahu said that Rouhani’s suggestion that Israel was involved was “not only false -- it’s laughable”.
He added that more Western countries should condemn Tehran for trying to forcefully suppress the protests.
Also, the Israeli Information Minister, according to AP, has rejected Tehran’s accusations.
What the US said?
President Donald Trump stepped up his war of words with Iran's leaders on Monday, posting a tweet saying that the "great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food and freedom. TIME FOR CHANGE!”
"The bold and growing resistance of the Iranian people today gives hope and faith to all who struggle for freedom and against tyranny. We must not and we will not let them down,” he said in another tweet.
Rouhani blamed the US and Israel
On Monday. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted by the state media as apparently blaming Iran’s arch enemies, the United States and Israel, for provoking unrest.
“Our success in the political arena against the United States and the Zionist regime was unbearable (to Iran’s enemies). Iran’s success in the region was unbearable to them. Don’t you expect that they would seek revenge? Don’t you think they would provoke some people?” Rouhani was quoted as saying in a meeting with lawmakers.
What is happening in Iran now?
Up to 400 people are reported to have been arrested in the recent days. The latest reports speak of a heavy police presence in the capital.
State media outlets were also quoting a police spokesman as saying that shots had been fired at police in Najafabad, near Isfahan in central Iran, killing one officer and wounding three.
Social media postings spoke of fresh protests in Birjand in the east, Kermanshah in the west and Shadegan in the far south-west.
What did the Iranian president say?
In a statement on the presidency website, Rouhani sought to play down the violence. He said, "This is nothing. Criticism and protest are an opportunity not a threat.”
"Our nation will deal with this minority who chant slogans against the law and people's wishes, and insult the sanctities and values of the revolution," he stated.
A later tweet was saying that the government needed to pay attention to people's demands on livelihood issues and corruption.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has taken a tough line, warning the anti-government protesters that they will face the nation's "iron fist" if the political unrest continues.