Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected Iranian accusations that Israel is behind protests against the regime in Tehran.
In a video posted on his Facebook page and translated to many languages, Netanyahu said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s suggestion that Israel was involved was “not only false -- it’s laughable.”
“Brave Iranians are pouring into the streets. They seek freedom. They seek justice. They seek the basic liberties that have been denied them for decades,” he said.
Netanyahu has issued instructions to prevent ministers and officials from talking about the Iranian issue, so that the Iranian regime would not exploit these statements to hide the real causes of the popular explosion and frighten Iranians by accusing them of implementing an “Israeli-US conspiracy.”
However, he himself talked about these protests, stressing that "the brutal Iranian regime is spending tens of billions of dollars on spreading hatred. This money can be used to build schools and hospitals. It is no coincidence that parents are demonstrating in the streets. The regime is afraid of its people, and this is the reason why it arrests university graduates and why social networks are blocked.”
“But I am convinced that fear will not prevail because the Iranians are intelligent and boastful. Today they risks everything for freedom,” Netanyahu added.
The Israeli PM has advocated regime change in Iran, saying that if the Tehran government collapses, Israelis and Iranians will be “great friends.”
“When this regime finally falls, and one day it will, Iranians and Israelis will be great friends once again,” the PM said.
In the 90-second-long video, Netanyahu praised the protesters who have rallied since Thursday, saying that they “seek freedom and justice.”
“I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom,” Netanyahu said.
He criticized the silent European countries and said that more Western states should condemn Tehran for trying to put down the protests.
“Sadly many European governments watch in silence as young heroic Iranians are beaten in the streets. That’s just not right. And I, for one, will not stay silent,” he said.
Despite being prevented to issue any statement in regards to the Iranian protests, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said Israel is "not getting involved, but I certainly wish the Iranian people success in the struggle for freedom and democracy."
Katz said that if the protests bring about regime change, most of the Iranian threats to Israel will dissipate.
“Iran spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually to help allies fighting elsewhere in the Middle East and this outlay appears to be rising,” Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenkot said in remarks.
According to Eisenkot, each year Iran spends billions of dollars on the Syrian regime, one billion dollar on “Hezbollah,” six billion dollars on the war in Yemen and 100 million on Hamas.