Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Thousands demonstrated in Iran's capital Monday to support the government after outcry and rioting broke out due to an increase in gasoline prices.
The demonstrators shouted support for officials and blamed the United States and Israel. Government supporters gathered at Tehran's Revolution Square in a show of support for religious leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.
The Iranian government increased gas prices earlier this month, drawing public protests in several cities. The government claimed, though, that anarchists took advantage of the protests to start new violence. Authorities had blamed anti-government protesters of starting fires, looting and damaging buildings, including gas stations
Iran closed two major border crossings with Iraq nearly two weeks ago as a measure to stem violence.
The unrest follows remarks from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that were supportive of the demonstrators. Tensions between the United States and Iran have been further heightened for months.
"As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you," Pompeo tweeted over the weekend.
Iranian leaders have condemned the United States and Israel, blaming both for actively straining the crisis.
"We think these statements and interventions are made not out of friendship and goodwill with the Iranian people, but aim to stoke up tensions," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters Monday.