ANKARA/Islamabad -  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States and Israel on Friday of meddling in Iran after Turkey’s neighbour was gripped by several days of deadly unrest.

A total of 21 people died and hundreds were arrested in the week-long protests which were the biggest challenge to the Islamic regime since the 2009 mass demonstrations.

“We cannot accept that some countries - foremost the US, Israel - to interfere in the internal affairs of Iran and Pakistan,” Erdogan told reporters before heading on a trip to France. “It is turning the people against each other in these countries. It’s a shame that we have seen this done in many nations... We saw this in Iraq.”

Erdogan did not expand on the nature of the alleged meddling in Pakistan but on Thursday the US announced a freeze in deliveries of military equipment and security funding until Pakistan cracks down on the militants.

The Turkish president then referred to problems in “Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia” and in African countries including Sudan and Chad. He claimed a “game was being played” in certain countries, which he noted were all Muslim-majority nations.

“They are taking steps towards making the plentiful underground riches in all these countries their own resources,” he said. “Sorry, these realities should be known by our people and all people,” he said.

Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on Wednesday in a call in which the Turkish leader gave his support for the return of “peace and stability” to Iran.

Erdogan on Friday praised Rouhani’s statements that the street protests were the people’s “democratic right”, saying this had helped normalise the situation.

Turkey’s conservative media had previously accused the US and Israel of stoking the Iran protests as part of a purported plot to transform the Middle East.

Erdogan has on occasion criticised Iran’s “Persian imperialism” in the Middle East amid bouts of tension in the Turkey-Iran relationship. But relations between Ankara and Tehran have warmed since the two countries worked closely with Russia in the last few months to bring peace to Syria.

Meanwhile, Press Attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Islamabad Abbas Badrifar on Friday said since Trump assumed power in the US, “we have witnessed unusual and abnormal steps by him, which surprised the world.”

Trump approach, he said, had been “an approach based on aggression, arrogance and bull[y]ing and it may be said explicitly that decisions and policies adopted by [the] American government after his presidency had been against the interests of the nations of the world in general and in contrast to the Islamic world in particular.”

Speaking to The Nation, Badrifar said that discriminatory unilateral actions of US such as withdrawal from Paris climate change agreement, destructive environmental effects of that were threatening to the people of the world, Islamphobia, creation of divide in the Islamic world, interference in Islamic societies, confrontation with the Islamic countries, agitation and instigation of them against each other was the clear approach of Trump administration.

Trump, in his beginning of presidential tenure, he said, imposed ban on the entry of the nationals of some Islamic countries in the US including Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, and showed his animosity towards the Islamic nations.

Heinous killing of oppressed Muslim nations including children and women in Yemen, Syria and Iraq enjoys clear and hidden support of the US, Badrifar added.

He said impudent step of Trump regarding recognition of Al-Quds as capital of the Zionist regime, was another evident example of his anti-Islam behaviour, which prompted reaction of the Islamic world and vast protests world over.

Badrifar criticised the recent tweet from Trump saying Pakistan had been victim of terrorism and since US attack on Afghanistan in 2001, and had given a lot of sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.

“Intervention in the shape of drone attacks on Pakistan during his tenure persists,” he added.

Badrifar said the US in Trump era had increased its presence in Afghanistan in the pretext of fight against terrorism.

“As during [the] last 16 years presence of Americans has not led to eradication of terrorism in Afghanistan and the region, definitely it would not happen subsequently. They came to fight against two phenomenon of terrorism and narcotics in Afghanistan. But now we witness that narcotics production in that country has increased 45 times and terrorism in various forms expanded,” he said.

Badrifar said Iran had not been immune from intervention and conspiracies.

“Eight years Iran-Iraq war, which imposed huge expenses on the people of Iran, fought by support and instigation of [the] US and after that economic sanctions on the pretext of nuclear activities of Iran were imposed,” he recalled.

Badrifar said intervention of Americans was taking place when like past they were unable to understand realities and developments in the Iranian society.

“This is not the end of enmity and hostility of [the] US and as the other countries of the region are under the threat of [the] US, Iran is not invulnerable and immune. Unity and solidarity in the Islamic world are the effective elements to confront US conspiracies and interventions,” Badrifar said.