A senior Iranian security official on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Britain of  being “major players” behind recent anti-government protests, a local reported.

“Certain countries are waging a proxy war against the Islamic republic via social media and the internet,’’ Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said.

He said that the U.S, Britain and Saudi Arabia are behind the recent riots in Iran, adding that the hash tags and social media campaigns in Iran are all being guided by these countries.

“Based on our analyses, around 27 per cent of the new hash tags against Iran are generated by the Saudi government,” the Iranian official said.

Shamkhani also said this foreign-backed intervention is aimed at hampering Iran’s progress in different spheres.

“What is happening in Iran will be over in a few days, and there is no reason to worry at all,’’ he noted.

No fewer than eight people, seven civilians and one security policeman were killed as protests against the government’s economic policies, including looming price hikes, continued in major cities in Iran over the past days.

According to Iran’s security officials, scores of protesters had been arrested.