Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that his country has foiled attempts by its foreign enemies to turn genuine protests into a full-blown insurgency to overthrow the Islamic Republic. “Once again, the nation tells the U.S., Britain, and those who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran from abroad that ‘you’ve failed, and you will fail in the future, too.'” he tweeted.
Comments on Khamenei's official Twitter page, as well as in Iranian media highlighted the Iranian government's confidence that it had extinguished the turmoil, which had spread to more than 80 cities and left some 22 people dead.
The Revolutionary Guards, Iran's military force, said on Sunday that security forces had put an end to the disturbances that it said had been whipped up by foreign enemies, according to Reuters.
At least 1,000 people have been detained following the largest anti-government protests Iran has witnessed in almost a decade.
Khamenei accused U.S. President Donald Trump of trying to rouse trouble when he tweeted support for the protestors, saying that they were attempting “to take back their corrupt government” and promising “great support from the United States at the appropriate time!”
The Iranian leader responded in kind, tweeting: “... this man who sits at the head of the White House - although he seems to be a very unstable man - he must realize that these extreme and psychotic episodes won’t be left without a response.”
Khamenei's condemnation was not only reserved for Washington and London. He also accused Israel, an exiled dissident group Mojahedin-e-Khalq and “a wealthy government” in the Gulf, in reference to Saudi Arabia, for trying to stir up legitimate protests for other purposes.
“The plot has been hatched by Americans and Zionists. They have been working on it for several months, planning to begin from small towns and then move on towards the center. The cash comes from one of the filthy rich Persian Gulf littoral states. Obviously, such projects need money, but the Americans won't be willing to spend anything as long as they have these [rich allies],” Khamenei said.
He added that the "murderous" Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization, served as their lackeys on the ground, according to PressTV.
He called the protests - initially spurned by economic issues, but soon turned political - “playing with fireworks.” He went on to affirm that Iranian citizens have the right to express legitimate concerns.
“These concerns must be addressed. We must listen, we must hear. We must provide answers within our means,” Khamenei was quoted as saying, hinting to the fact that the clerical leadership, not only Iran's elected president, Hassan Rouhani, must also respond to the protests.
“I‘m not saying that they must follow up. I am also responsible. All of us must follow up,” Khamenei said.