Deadly protests spread like wildfire across Iran

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The protests have also taken many in the world by surprise as Iran keeps a tight control on the flow of information through its state-regulated media.

At least 20 individuals have died since the protests began last week.

Later in the day, Iran's Revolutionary Guards said the anti-government protests that erupted over the past few days were at an end.

The protests were triggered by a number of economic issues and have since expanded to several cities across Iran. A call for marches circulated on the app Telegram billed the theme as "No to high prices", but protesters quickly escalated to chanting anti-government slogans, including "death to Rouhani" and "death to the dictator".

Many also question the wisdom of Iran's foreign policy in the Middle East, where it has intervened in Syria and Iraq in a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia.

He also said the looking out for human rights abuses. Protest movements with far-reaching political goals, like a change in government, usually require the buy-in of political elites to succeed. The demonstrations began over economic grievances but have since taken on a political dimension, with unprecedented calls for the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to step down.

Is theocracy the reason behind protests?

"That's one thing. The second thing it does, it legitimizes the use of violence against protesters because if the regime is dealing with external saboteurs and not internal dissenters then it's perfectly legitimate for Iran to use its security forces and clamp down on opposition", Akbarzedeh said. Shah and his successors were against "clerical influence" in the government and such slogans indicate that some anger also stem from the theocratic rule of almost 38 years. After a cut, demonstrators are seen coming to the aid of another protester, who appears seriously wounded.

The current Iran protests confirm that the 2015 nuclear deal did not fix Iran's embattled economy as Tehran had hoped and as Israel had feared, ex-senior Mossad official Sima Shine wrote in an analysis on Wednesday.

That is much like Obama's reaction three days after a disputed presidential election.

Analyst Naeem Aslam at broker Think Markets said the protests could still potentially have a larger impact on the oil price.

Overnight clashes between protesters and security forces in Iran killed nine people, state television reported on Tuesday, including some rioters who tried to storm a police station to steal weapons.

Iranian officials have downplayed the strength of the protests. Millions took to the streets that time against the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But as the unrest has spread, protestors have directed their anger at the religious establishment.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: The man who has the final word on all major decisions, Khamenei has consistently advocated deeply conservative positions at home and has been relentlessly critical of the West. There is a time when protests are in the framework of the law...

In contrast, latest protests are isolated from other countries in the region.

But Iranians are not happy with the recent rising costs of food and fuel, as well as the alleged corruption and economic mismanagement within the government.

Elsewhere, the Leader highlighted the sacrifices of martyrs during the Iraqi war against Iran during the Saddam regime.

Khamenei made the comments on January 2 as worldwide pressure, led by U.S. President Donald Trump, builds in step with the rising death toll from the upheaval, putting further pressure on Iran's leadership, which appears to have been caught off-guard by the strength and breadth of the protests.