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One of the largest demonstrations was at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Musalla Mosque, where thousands of protesters blasted the USA and chanted anti-U.S. slogans. "The Iranian regime is now on notice: the world will be watching what you do".

US Ambassador Nikki Haley has warned the demonstrations could escalate into full-blown conflict, drawing a comparison with Syria.

Commenting on the possibility of new United States sanctions on Iran, Ryabkov said such methods were "illegitimate".

Iran on Wednesday angrily accused the U.S.at the United Nations of meddling in its domestic affairs.

Iranian officials have blamed a plot by the CIA, Israel and Saudi Arabia for the unrest that convulsed much of the country for five days - part of the increasing tensions playing out between Iran and its neighbors since U.S. President Donald Trump came to power. "They are attempting to silence the voice of the Iranian people".

Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and global affairs.

He added that changes in Iran will come from the people and not from overseas.

More than 20 people were killed in the demonstrations, including at least one police officer, while more than a thousand others were detained by authorities.

In the following days, however, the protests appeared to turn into anti-government rallies, spreading to Tehran, Kermanshah, Sanandaj, Zanjan, Ahvaz and Arak provinces.

He added his government has "hard evidence" the recent protests in Iran were "very clearly directed from abroad". When the rights of the people are denied, the people rightly resist.

While the U.S. and its European partners - including the United Kingdom, France and Germany - all fundamentally support the right of Iranian demonstrators to peacefully protest, they disagree in their analysis of where the situation on the ground is headed and over the strategic value of ramping up the rhetoric publicly, sources have told CNN.

In a Thursday tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hit back at the White House for what he cast as duplicitous comments.

Trump's administration has denied having any hand in the demonstrations, saying they arose completely spontaneously.

But the Europeans - who negotiated the nuclear agreement along with the United States, Russia and China - have reacted more cautiously by expressing support for the protesters without antagonizing the government with strident condemnation.

Some other members urged a careful approach to weighing in on the protests: "Yes, of course, to vigilance and call for full respect of freedom of expression, but no to instrumentalization of the crisis from the outside — because it would only reinforce the extremes, which is precisely what we want to avoid", French Ambassador Francois Delattre said before the meeting.

But Russia and Iran complained the United States was dragging a council focused on global security into what they called a domestic matter.

'It is unfortunate that despite the resistance on the part of some of its members, this council has allowed itself to be abused by the current USA administration in holding a meeting on an issue that falls outside the scope of its mandate, ' he said.