Iran slams 'hypocritical' US support for economic protests

Cars block a street during a protest against a rise in gas prices, in the central Iranian city of Isfahan on Saturday, November 16.

(CNN)Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for backing protesters in Iran on Sunday, describing a tweet from Washington's top diplomat as "hypocritical."

Pompeo said that the US supported the demonstrations that erupted in several cities across the country Friday after Iran's National Oil Company (NIOPDC) announced increases of 50% to 300% in gas prices.
"Iran's noble nation knows well that such hypocritical statements are completely void of sincere sympathy," Mousavi responded on Sunday, according to state-run news agency IRNA.
On Saturday, Pompeo tweeted: "As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you." He also retweeted his July 2018 statement of support for Iranians protesting against the "tyranny" of their government.
    Some 100 banks and 57 shops have been set on fire in the protests, according to semi-official Mehr News quoting an Iranian security organization, and more than 1,000 protesters have been arrested, according to semi-official Fars News Agency.
    "Several" people have died in the protests, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech Sunday. Khamenei voiced support for the fuel price increases, and suggested external forces were behind the unrest.
    The government says the increase is in the interest of the country and argues it will prevent "fuel smugglers" from exporting Iran's oil to neighboring countries.