A former Iranian lawmaker accused Israel and the United States on Sunday of taking advantage of the anti-regime protests sweeping across the Islamic Republic, news website Iran Front Page reported.
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“The US and Israel are seeking to deflect the protests and reap their own fruits,” Ahmad Tavakkoli, who was a conservative member of Iran's parliament for 16 years, told the country's semi-official FARS news agency.
Tavakkoli also commented on U.S. President Donald Trump's support for the protests, which the American leader expressed in a tweet on Saturday.
“The American officials don’t know, due to their foolish governmental and ideological structures, that the Iranian nation will immediately distance themselves from any anti-revolution and foreign groups,” Tavakkoli said.
On Saturday, two Israeli ministers also spoke out in support of the protests, saying that the demonstrators were “bravely standing up” to a regime that spends billions of dollars funding foreign terror groups instead of “investing in the Iranian people.” Netanyahu later requested that his government “minimize” its comments.
In the interview to FARS, Tavakkoli also noted that protesting is a basic right in Iran and criticized the regime in Tehran for failing to deal with the country's economic issues. He did, however, claim that "terrorist groups are seeking to take advantage of the chaos," IFP wrote.
“The fallout of such chaos will put in trouble not only the government but the whole country,” Tavakkoli warned.
Also on Sunday, Iran’s state-sponsored Kayhan newspaper claimed that the wave of protests, as well as the anti-government demonstrations that took place in 2009, known as the Green Movement, are part of an Israeli plot against Iran and Islam.
Kayhan’s article Sunday quoted its editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari, as saying that Israel, the U.S. and England are responsible for the “difficult living conditions” in Iran, and that these “foreign infiltrators” are the true actors behind the current demonstrations and the Green Movement.
The wave of anti-government demonstrations, prompted in part by discontent over economic hardship and alleged corruption, are the most serious since the Green Movement. Since the first anti-regime rally on Thursday, two protesters have reportedly been killed and at least 50 have been arrested.