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At least 20 people are dead in Iran's bloody week of protests

At least 20 people are dead in Iran's bloody week of protests

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has acknowledged the public's anger over the flagging economy, but he has also warned that rioters and looters will be arrested.

U.S. president Donald Trump backed the demonstrators, saying they were right to make a stand.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, described the unrest - the biggest challenge to the regime since mass protests in 2009 - as a "proxy war against the Iranian people".

The demonstrations, which began over Iran's weak economy and a jump in food prices, appear to be the largest to strike the country since 2009.

Nine people have been killed overnight amid nationwide protests and unrest in Iran.

Late Monday, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency said an assailant using a hunting rifle killed a policeman and wounded three other officers during a demonstration in the central city of Najafabad, about 200 miles south of Tehran.

Six protesters were killed in clashes with security forces as they tried to storm a police station in the town of Qahderijan, which has a population of around 30,000.

"The support rendered by the highest-ranking official of the U.S. regime along with a number of governments and arrogant powers' media, including the BBC, to the rioters indicates that the United States has plotted to foment a new sedition in Iran but it will bring nothing but humility and failure for the enemies of the Islamic Revolution", General Jazzayeri said.

"We regret the loss of life that has occurred in the protests in Iran, and call on all concerned to refrain from violence and for global obligations on human rights to be observed", he said.

More news: Activists divided over Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha

"Iran is failing at every level despite the awful deal made with them by the Obama administration", Mr Trump said, referring to the nuclear pact agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama.

Mr Rouhani had dismissed Mr Trump's earlier comments on Sunday.

State media began showing some footage of the demonstrations on Sunday, focusing on young men attacking banks and vehicles, an attack on a town hall in Tehran, and images of a man burning the Iranian flag.

Rohani has criticized Trump for his tweets, saying he "has forgotten that he had called Iranian people "terrorists" a few months ago".

"The government will show no tolerance for those who damage public property, violate public order, and create unrest in society", he said.

The shooting has resulted in the first reported casualties among Iranian law enforcement since the beginning of the protests, which have engulfed the Islamic Republic since December 28.

Meanwhile, Bahrain became the first Arab Gulf state to issue a travel warning for Iran.

Bahrain's Shiite community generally travels to Iran for religious reasons, although relations between the countries are strained over allegations by Manama that Tehran interferes in its internal affairs.

The Intelligence Ministry said in a statement that "rioters and instigators" had been identified "and will be dealt with seriously soon".


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