"We're looking at something new, something we haven't seen in Iran since the Islamic Revolution", the official said, adding that the novelty of the protests is making it hard for USA officials to predict where they will lead. The Ayatollah Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran.
But he also warned that security forces would "show no tolerance for those who damage public properties, violate public order and create unrest in the society".
Tens of thousands of Iranians took part in pro-government demonstrations in several cities across the country today, Iranian state media reported, a move apparently seeking to calm nerves after a week of protests and unrest that have killed at least 21 people.
The protests then went nationwide, with calls for the overthrow the entire government.
Iran has seen its largest anti-government protests since the disputed presidential election in 2009, with thousands taking to the streets in several cities in recent days. The Trump administration has denied having any hand in the protests, and the Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment. But so far, his administration has taken no steps.
European leaders and the United States have condemned the "unacceptable loss of human lives" and the arrests of hundreds of antigovernment protesters. Dual nationalities are not uncommon in Iran, so the arrest would hardly be proof of meddling by foreign powers.
Trump's administration also demanded a snap U.N. Security Council meeting to debate unrest that has killed 21 people - mostly protesters.
Israel's prime minister wishes protesters in Iran "success in their noble quest for freedom".
On Sunday, Rouhani said Iranians have the right to protest, but said violence would be met with a firm response. "These hard-earned rights will be protected, and infiltrators will not be allowed to sabotage them through violence and destruction".
Trump Tweets 'Such Respect' for Iranian People, Pledges US Support
In a sign of a continued warming of relations between Turkey and its once bitter rival Iran, Erdogan told Rohani that while "peace and stability" had to be preserved, he also agreed that the right to protest should not lead to "violations of the law".
The administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has done much to perpetuate the myth of reform by so-called "moderates" in Iran. The protest movement's leaders remain under house arrest years later. Rouhani promised greater social and political openness, as well as a revived economy after years of global sanctions, but he has been unable to deliver much change in a nation where the ruling clerics must approve all major decisions.
The next day larger-scale protests flare up in more cities including the western Kermanshah and key religious centre Qom, where footage shows hundreds of demonstrators chanting "Death to the dictator" and "Free political prisoners".
Gerecht's concern for the Iranian people was not so obvious in 2006 when he proposedthat "we should make every effort, including repeated military strikes, to thwart the clerics' quest for [a nuclear weapon]".
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the country's powerful Revolutionary Guards, said the marches marked an end to the anti-government protests, which he referred to as "the sedition".
"The U.S.is watching!" the president tweeted.
A senior Trump administration official said Wednesday that US officials were surprised by the outbreak of the protests and how they have spread. He added that Iranians are exhausted of the government. The majority of the population was born after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. That 1953 coup still fuels mistrust of the USA among Iranians.
"The current USA administration, despite its recent empty statements, has continuously insulted the great Iranian nation and displayed open hostility towards Iranian people", Khoshroo wrote, citing Trump's travel ban on Iranian citizens.
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