Israeli Minister Wishes Iranians Success In Protests Against Regime

In this Tuesday, March 7, 2017 photo, Israel's transportation and intelligence minister Yisrael Katz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office in Tel Aviv, Israel. Katz said that he is pushing forward with a proposal to build an artificial island with a seaport off the coast …
AP/Dan Balilty

Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz on Monday expressed his support for anti-government Iranian protestors, but said that Israel had a policy of not interfering in Tehran’s affairs.

The minister was speaking as protests in Iran continued over four consecutive days. The riots are the largest since the 2009 protests that challenged the result of a national election.

“I can only wish success to the Iranian people in the struggle for freedom and democracy,” Katz told Army Radio in an interview. “If the people succeed in achieving freedom and democracy, many of the threats to Israel and the entire region today will disappear.”

Asked why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not following U.S. President Donald Trump’s example by offering a more open endorsement of the protesters, Katz said: “Israel has undertaken not to get involved in this internal affair.”

His interview was carried by US-Jewish paper the Algemeiner.

Later on Monday, Israeli media outlets reported that Netanyahu instructed ministers not to discuss the Iranian protests in public. On Monday evening, Netanyahu posted a clip on his Facebook page in which he called on the Iranian people to stay strong and not give up on their dreams.

Katz told the radio station that Trump’s tough approach to Tehran, including the threat of US sanctions, has punctured the Iranian government’s “illusion of economic betterment.”

On Sunday, an Iranian official said that “foreign agents” were responsible for a clash in which two protesters were killed.

The minister dismissed the allegations as standard fare from “a mendacious and propagandistic regime.”