"People are absolutely free to criticize the government and protest but their protests should be in such a way as to improve the situation in the country and their life", Rouhani told his cabinet, according to reports citing the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) news agency. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri said Monday that Trump's support of the protesters "indicates planning by the U.S. for launching a new sedition in Iran".
Hundreds of students and others joined a new economic protest at Tehran University, with riot police massing at the gates as they shut down surrounding roads.
Video footage posted on social media today appeared to show police in Tehran firing water cannons in an attempt to disperse demonstrators gathering in Ferdowsi Square in the centre of the capital.
Nationwide protests in Iran saw their most violent night as "armed protesters" tried to overrun military bases and police stations before security forces repelled them, bringing the death toll in the unrest to at least 12, state television reported Monday. "This is essentially going to eliminate prohibition on the plant of the last 400 years and return the plant back to the people", said Khalil Moutawakkil, the CEO of a Santa Cruz dispensary.
"Violent clashes broke out in the illegal demonstration in Dorud on Saturday and unfortunately two people were killed", Habibollah Khojastehpour, deputy governor of Lorestan province, said in an interview on state television on Sunday. The reasons that had fueled the 1979 rebellion, resulting in the overthrow of the authoritarian ruler Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi by an Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, are eerily similar to the ones that have led to the recent protests.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was the latest high-level American representative to give unambiguous backing to the demonstrators, in a statement released on Sunday.
Although the unrest was triggered by grouses over the poor economic condition, it has quickly escalated to include political demands.
The Foreign Ministry in Tehran dismissed Trump's comments, saying "the Iranian people place no value or credibility in the opportunistic claims of U.S. officials or of Mr. Trump himself".
He even contradicted the usual conspiracy theories that blame Western powers and Israel for Iran's woes, stressing the need to get to the root causes of the problem. However, in a statement carried by state media, it said, "The Iranian nation.will not allow the country to be hurt".
What is behind the protests?
Other demonstrations were reported in Kermanshah and Khorramabad in the west, Shahinshahr in the northwest and Zanjan in the north.
The protests - which began on Thursday in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city - were prompted by discontent over the country's weak economy and alleged corruption.
"But criticism is different to violence and destroying public property".
The president said residents should be united in dealing with the problem.
The petition noted that in 2009, Iranians who took to the streets had pleaded for the president's support by chanting, "Obama, Obama ya ba oona, ya ba ma".