The Supreme Leader has told Iran’s judiciary to end protests, renewed this week over a currency slide and economic conditions.

Addressing judiciary officials on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei said they must ensure the security of “businesses and lives”: “We need to act firmly against the enemy, the spiteful, conspirators, and accusers.”

Khamenei played down economic concerns by saying, “In some governmental, public, and business sectors, there exists corruption, but existence of an overall corruption is not accurate, and such a wrong notion should not be injected into public opinion.”

This week’s demonstrations are the largest since nationwide protests in January. They began on Sunday in the cellphone market of Tehran, as the Iranian Rial fell another 20% in two days from its already-historic low against the US dollar. On Monday, the show of discontent spread to the Tehran Bazaar, with marchers moving towards the Parliament building before they were dispersed by police. Protests were also reported from Tabriz in the northwest to Kermanshah in the west to Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf.

See Iran Daily, June 27: “Large Number” of Arrests as Protests Spread Beyond Tehran

Officials said “a large number” of demonstrators were arrested, with judiciary head Sadeq Larijani warning that “disrupting economic activities may entail the death sentence”.

Rouhani: “We Must Stay United”

President Hassan Rouhani, speaking on State TV, tried to ease the pressure with the insistence that Government revenues have not fallen, despite US sanctions that are being expanded after the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the July 2015 nuclear deal. He blamed the fall in the Rial on “foreign media propaganda”.

Pushing back on criticism from hardliners as well as the demonstrations, Rouhani said:

If there is hardship, we will endure it together and won’t give in, we will protect our historic dignity and defeat the United States in the fight of wills.

We must stay united because domestic disagreements imposes the highest prices on people, especially the deprived.

He concluded with a message for Donald Trump: “The bully in the White House that is oppressing peoples around the world, especially Muslims, will face the consequences.”