TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's top leader said Wednesday that the wave of protests spreading from New York's Wall Street to other U.S. cities reflects a serious crisis that will ultimately topple capitalism in America.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the United States is now in a full-blown crisis because its "corrupt foundation has been exposed to the American people."
Khamenei made the remarks during a rally Wednesday in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah that drew tens of thousands of people. His speech was broadcast live on state TV.
The Occupy Wall Street movement started in New York City last month and is spreading to other parts of the country. The loosely affiliated movement is peacefully protesting the power of the financial and political sectors.
"They (U.S. government) may crack down on this movement but cannot uproot it," Khamenei said. "Ultimately, it will grow so that it will bring down the capitalist system and the West."
Khamenei's remarks were not the first from Iranian officials, who have called the Occupy Wall Street movement an "American Spring," likening it to the uprisings that have toppled autocratic Arab rulers in the Middle East earlier this year.
Khamenei claimed capitalism in the West has reached a dead-end and that "the world is at a historical turn."
The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread to other cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Los Angeles, and have become a political issue, with Republicans accusing the demonstrators of waging "class war" and President Barack Obama saying he understands their frustrations.