January 3, 2018 / 7:45 PM / in 2 years

Hezbollah plays down Iran protests, sees 'nothing to worry about'

FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a video screen as he addresses his supporters during a ceremony of the latest day of Ashoura in Beirut, Lebanon September 30, 2017. REUTERS/Khalil Hasan/File Photo

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group on Wednesday played down protests in Iran as economic discontent, saying they were not rooted in the political issues which spurred huge numbers to demonstrate in 2009 and were expected to end soon.

“In Iran there is nothing to worry about and the issue is being taken seriously ... The size of the protests is not large,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview with Lebanon’s pro-Iran al-Mayadeen channel.

“What is happening in Iran is being well contained and is not comparable with what happened in 2009 ... The problem in Iran now is not political like what happened in 2009.”

Nasrallah said the cause of the current protests was economic, sparked by the bankruptcy of some banks and companies. The resulting discontent was then exploited by external powers, he said.

“America, Israel and Saudi Arabia have entered the crisis in Iran,” he said.

Writing by Lisa Barrington; Reporting by Laila Bassam in Beirut and Omar Fahmy in Cairo, Editing by William Maclean

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