TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The head of the upper house of the Russian parliament’s international affairs committee said “external factors” have been involved in the recent protests against high prices in Iran, noting that Washington will seize every opportunity to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

“New year’s wave of protests in Iran, of course, in the first place is a symptom of certain internal political processes in the country. Socio-economic factors also influence the events, but they aren’t the worst in the region and in comparison with previous years for Iran,” Kosachev was cited by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

He further warned that Washington and Tel Aviv are stepping up their cooperation to destabilize the Islamic Republic, referring to a recent deal secretly signed between the two on cooperation on countering Iran.

On December 12, senior officials from the United States and Israel secretly met in Washington to hammer out a deal on confronting Iran on several fronts.

The closed-door meeting, led by US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat, took place at the White House, and the two sides agreed on forming joint teams to combat Iran in the Middle East.

The Russian senator added, “So, of course, the external factor in the Iranian protests is present, although not yet dominant. I believe the wave of protests will subside soon, no revolution will happen, but competition has taken place”.

Kosachev further urged Iranian officials to stay alert in the face of foreign powers’ attempts to weaken the country.

Some cities in Iran have been scenes of demonstrations in the past days after prices of several staples rose by up to 40 percent.

During the rallies, people called on the government to help control rising food prices and inflation, but some opportunists attempted to turn the situation ugly and materialize their vested interest at the cost of social security.

On Sunday, the US president one more time sided with the opportunists, tweeting, “Big protests in Iran. The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!” 

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at his US counterpart for commenting on the protests, saying the man who already called the Iranian people terrorists, as well as certain Arab regimes working against Iran, have no right to sympathize with the nation.

Rouhani began his second term in office in August, with the country’s economic issues high on his agenda.

His administration has managed to reduce the inflation rate, but it still faces many economic challenges.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has said economic issues were the country’s top priority, urging Iranian officials to make relentless efforts to solve problems facing the people, including unemployment among the youth.

“Economy must be the top priority of all members and sectors of the government,” the Leader said in a meeting with President Rouhani and the members of his administration in August.

In a speech on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei once again called on officials to pursue the Resistance Economy with determination in order to address “high prices, inflation and recession.”