The US intelligence chief on Tuesday accused Iran of egging on protests inside the United States against the Gaza war, including by paying demonstrators.

Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, stressed she was not alleging that Americans taking to the streets against Israel or US policy were insincere or doing Iran’s bidding, but said Tehran was stepping up efforts.

“We have observed actors tied to Iran’s government posing as activists online, seeking to encourage protests and even providing financial support to protesters,” she said.

Iran supports Palestinian militants Hamas, whose massive attack on Israel on October 7 has triggered a relentless Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Iranian state-backed media seized on pro-Palestinian protests that swept US campuses and accused the United States of hypocrisy in the crackdowns on some of the demonstrations.

Iran, an arch-nemesis of the United States since the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the pro-Western shah, has faced frequent charges of trying to target dissident voices in the West.

With AFP