BEIRUT — The head of Lebanon’s powerful Tehran-backed Hezbollah terror group said Wednesday he was confident protests in Iran would be brought under control and leave US President Donald Trump disappointed.
“There is nothing to worry about and what happened in Iran is well contained,” Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview to Al-Mayadeen, a TV channel close to his movement.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief proclaimed the “end of the sedition” Wednesday as tens of thousands of people rallied in a show of solidarity with the regime.
Protests over economic problems broke out in Iran’s second city Mashhad last week and quickly spread across the country, turning against the regime as a whole.
The rare demonstrations drew vocal support from Trump, who on Wednesday vowed to back demonstrators and called the Iranian “brutal and corrupt.”
Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
“Trump’s hopes have been disappointed,” Nasrallah said, as will the hopes of “all those who bet that the protests would grow and lead to the fall of the regime and chaos in Iran.”
He said he saw no risk of a change in Tehran’s policy of support for movements such as his but when asked about Iran’s financial contributions to Hezbollah, he replied “no comment.”
Some of the young demonstrators in Iran highlighted the Islamic Republic’s financial support of the Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups as among their primary grievances.
Students were filmed at a demonstration last week repeating a popular chant of “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran” — an expression of anger over claims the government is focusing more on regional issues than problems at home.
On Wednesday, Trump pledged unspecified support for Iranians trying to “take back” their government , extending a drumbeat of encouragement for countrywide protests.
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) December 30, 2017
“Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday.
“You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!” he said, without offering any specifics on what or when that might be.
Trump has sought to ramp up pressure the Iranian regime, which has struggled to contain a week of protests across the country.
But so far his administration’s input has been rhetorical and diplomatic.
In response to Trump’s latest Twitter attack, Iranian officials have said online accounts in the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia are fomenting protests, which Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed on the country’s “enemies.”