Trump Sides With Iranian Protesters: 'The US Is Watching!'

During his weekly meeting January 2 with the families of those killed in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, Khamenei said that enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran are using the protests to strike a blow against the government.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused foreign enemies Tuesday of fomenting the demonstrations, which have seen police stations and the offices of Friday prayer leaders attacked.

On December 31, the authorities issue more warnings and officials say 200 people were arrested during the demonstrations in Tehran and another 80 in Arak, some 300 kilometres (190 miles) away. Anger over rising living costs, the state of the economy, and allegations of political corruption are fueling the demonstrations, which have now spread to several cities across the country.

"In recent events, enemies of #Iran have allied & used the various means they possess, including money, weapons, politics &intelligence services, to trouble the Islamic Republic", he tweeted. Khamenei said Tuesday that the country's enemies have meddled in recent protest rallies.

"Today we can announce the end of the sedition", Jafari said, quoted on the Guards' website. Shamkhani also warned Saudi Arabia against getting involved in Iran's internal affairs.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and a prominent judge has warned that some could face the death penalty.

An Iranian government spokesman, lashing out at US support for the protesters, insisted that Iranian citizens enjoyed the right to free speech and assembly unlike in other Middle Eastern countries allied with Washington.

Moderates and reformers led by Rouhani have said people have the right to peacefully protest against economic woes and the government should be open to criticism.

"They have gone out and voted for President Hassan Rouhani and supported reformists all these years but to no result".

Rouhani also said that some have entered the protests to "take advantage" of people and provoke protesters.

The towns are all in Iran's central Isfahan province, some 215 miles south of Tehran.

Where is the latest unrest happening? At least 20 people have reportedly been killed in the unrest.

That drew an angry response from Iran, with Bahram Qasemi, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, describing Trump's comments as insulting, useless, and counterproductive, the state news media reported.

How has the outside world reacted?

Earlier, Donald Trump took to Twitter to praise those taking part in protests against Iran's "brutal and corrupt" regime.

The Russian Foreign Ministry echoed the concerns, urging the United States not to interfere in Iran's "domestic issues", Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The EU called on Iran to guarantee its citizens' right to peaceful protest, saying it had been in touch with Iranian authorities and was monitoring the situation.

Many of those protesting appear young and unconnected to the educated, politically connected middle-class who poured into the streets to challenge the reelection of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

  • Leroy Wright