Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalayi said that Ayatollah Sistani believes that the legitimate demands of the protesters should be met and political parties should come to an agreement on meeting the demands in a definite time frame.
He was addressing Friday prayer worshippers in the holy city of Karbala yesterday.
Sheikh Karbalayi also underlined the need for avoiding violence and warned against attempts to exploit the current situation in Iraq to harm national interests.
More than 200 have been killed and thousands of others wounded since protests erupted in Iraq in early October, with security forces using tear gas and rubber bullets against those taking to the streets.
The Iraqi premier last week lauded the rallies in a statement, saying that the demonstrations, which “shook the political system”, have "achieved much of their objectives" in pushing the Iraqi establishment to "reconsider" its decisions and address the protesters' concerns.
Adel Abdul-Mahdi said that he welcomed continued protests as an expression of "free speech" and change, but urged the protesters to avoid participating in non-permitted street protests and to convene in predesignated areas.