President Donald Trump put Iran on notice Tuesday, blasting the nation's regime as "brutal and corrupt", and warning that America is watching how the protests that have rocked the country in recent days unfold. "All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their 'pockets, '" Trump said. The money was Iranian money that had been frozen by the US following the revolution.
DemonstrationsA demonstrator shouts slogans near the flag of the former Imperial State of Iran as he gathers with supporters of Maryam Rajavi, head of the Iranian opposition group National Council of Resistance, outside the Iran Embassy, in Rome.
Despite professions of solidarity with the Iranian people, he said, the United States had actually insulted them by banning ordinary Iranians from entering the USA (under Mr Trump's travel ban) and with Mr Trump's refusal to certify an internationally agreed deal to limit Iran's nuclear programme.
They have since expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and the Ayatollah.
Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, used her public platform to recite protesters' slogans and declared that "the people of Iran are crying out for freedom".
Ariannejad said he always tells his relatives to stay away from any violence if they take part in the protests.
Monday marked the fifth day of deadly protests in Iran, where 21 people have now been killed as Iranians protest the country's economic and political instability.
The protests are the most serious and widespread expression of public discontent in in Iran since the disputed re-election of then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iranians in other cities plan to rally for the government on Thursday and Tehran residents will come out in support of Iran's regime on Friday.
The mercurial president offered no specifics, but a senior administration official said that the White House was "looking across the board" at sanction authorities allowing Trump to target organizations or individuals involved in human rights violations, censorship or preventing free assembly.
Kupchan said that while the unrest is "admittedly unpredictable", it remains very unlikely that the clashes would result in a "revolutionary tipping point for Iran".
"All those who are at odds with the Islamic Republic have utilised various means, including money, weapons, politics and (the) intelligence apparatus, to create problems for the Islamic system, the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution".
Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said: "The Iranian government is being tested by its own citizens".
Rouhani pushed back on Trump's remarks, saying the USA president had no right to sympathize with protesters because he "called the Iranian nation terrorists a few months ago".