MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that the United States is trying to economically strangle Iran and provoke discontent among the Iranian people.
“If the American plan is to strangle Iran economically and stimulate the people’s discontent, we see the same plan in relation to Venezuela ,” Lavrov said.
According to the Russian foreign minister, the wave of demonstrations that Iran is experiencing was the result of Washington policy.
“In Iran, the problems are very serious, including because the Americans have declared sanctions against that country totally illegally, withdrew from the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program… I don’t even know how to describe it, this is absurd, a completely surrealistic approach,” said Lavrov.
Since October, Iran has been facing a wave of major demonstrations calling for the current government to resign, as well as economic reforms, better living conditions and an end to corruption.
Iran’s first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri threatened the region’s countries on Saturday with harsh consequences if his role in instigating last week’s national rallies was confirmed.
“Some countries in the region should know that if clues are found that they were involved in rioting within Iran, their fate in the region is sealed because Iran is not a country to be joked in or to tolerate such behavior,” Jahangiri said, as quoted by the Fars news agency.
He added that they “would be dealt a crushing blow if they found out that foreigners intervened in Iran’s internal affairs and inflicted costs and damage on the Iranian nation.”
Protests broke out in several Iranian provinces last week over the government’s decision to suddenly raise the price of gasoline. Some of them turned violent and resulted in casualties between protesters and security forces. Subsequently, several counter-protests took place in Iran in protest against the unrest.
According to President Hassan Rouhani, the protests were organized by the United States and Israel to undermine Iran’s national security. Washington openly expressed support for protesters.