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Amid Protests Across Iran, Trump Lashes Out at Tehran's Leaders


Iranian protesters chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 30, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump denounced the Iranian government Saturday amid pro- and anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

Supporters of the Iranian government took to the streets in Tehran as anti-government protests entered a third day and spread to other cities.

Using excerpts from a speech he delivered to the U.N. General Assembly on September 19, Trump lambasted the Iranian government on Twitter, charging it has long oppressed the Iranian people.

In Tehran, a relatively small group of government protesters rallied at the University of Tehran, but they were greatly outnumbered by thousands of pro-government supporters.

Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli cautioned against more anti-government action, saying, "We urge all those who receive these calls to protest not to participate in these illegal gatherings as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens."

Videos distributed on social media showed dozens of people around the university chanting slogans against the government, as similar protests erupted in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashad and several major towns.

Hundreds of conservative protesters, chanting, "Death to the seditionists," later took control of the entrance to the university.

Saturday's anti-government protests were staged in commemoration of massive pro-government rallies in 2009, following a disputed presidential election and months of unrest.

WATCH: Pro- and anti-government rallies in Iran

Amid Protests Across Iran, Trump Lashes Out at Tehran's Leaders
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In a statement Friday, the State Department said, "Iran's leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state, whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos."

The State Department urged "all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption."

Earlier Friday, Iranians gathered in cities around the nation to voice their displeasure with the country's economy and government policies.

Iranian women chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 30, 2017.
Iranian women chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 30, 2017.

In Tehran, government security official Mohsen Hamedani told reporters that fewer than 50 people had gathered for a protest at a public square. He said a few of them were "temporarily arrested" after they refused to leave when police broke up the demonstration.

Iran has an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, a stagnant economy and rampant inflation.

Demonstrators have also spoken out against Iranian military personnel being deployed outside the country, particularly in Syria, for long periods of time.

Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said Friday that some political factions were using the economy as an excuse to criticize the government. He said those who started the protests might not be able to control the movement.

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