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Below is a timeline of the recent demonstrations.

The protests could be the beginning of a longer period of unrest, one that could destabilize both the country's elected government and its theocratic leaders.

In the southwestern city of Ahvaz, police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators. Over the next six days, the protests in more than two dozen towns would turn into an open rebellion against Iran's Islamic leadership itself. Unemployment among the youth has reached a record-high of roughly 31%, while approximately 60% of the Iranian population is under 30 years of age.

President Donald Trump begins a series of tweets about the protests: "Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime's corruption & its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism overseas". "He's not going to want to waive sanctions and keep money flowing to dictators when there are people protesting in the streets", Richard Goldberg, a former Senate Republican aide who participated in designing sanctions against Iran, told Politico.

Late on Wednesday, senior Trump administration officials acknowledged their surprise that the protests took hold so quickly.

The working-class anger behind a week of unrest in Iran will pose an increasingly potent challenge to Tehran's ruling clerics as economic and social pressures mount, even if the current protests peter out, analysts said Wednesday. These protesters, who are flooding the streets and demanding that their voices be heard, are committing acts of heroism that will be felt throughout the world and throughout history. "We encourage all parties to protect this fundamental right to peaceful expression and to avoid any actions that contribute to censorship". Rouhani promised greater social and political openness, as well as a revived economy after years of worldwide sanctions, but he has been unable to deliver much change in a nation where the ruling clerics must approve all major decisions. Unemployment in Iran is about 12.7 percent, and the cost of basic goods jumped 40 percent in 2017.

The unrest has also further increased tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Austen also reiterated Canada's opposition to Iran's support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, its ballistic missile program and its support for the repressive regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

Watch Milani's full interview in the above video.

Iranian police have arrested 450 protesters in the capital over the past three days, a semi-official news agency says, as a police crackdown intensifies against anti-government demonstrations that began last week. "The rich now heedlessly flaunt their wealth", emphasizing the economic divide.

Trump's United Nations envoy, Ambassador Nikki Haley, has called for an emergency Security Council meeting on Iran, saying the United Nations needed to speak out in support of the protesters.

The Iranian government is denying responsibility for the deaths and unrest.


"Before the economic sanctions against Iran, the European Union was this country's most important commercial partner", he said.

Britain's reaction, meanwhile, has been limited to a call for "meaningful debate" over the protesters' complaints, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson saying: "The UK is watching events in Iran closely".

In August 2016, the Obama administration acknowledged paying $1.3 billion to Iran for interest on a payment Iran made to the United States in the 1970s for military equipment that the US never delivered.

At least 20 people were dead as of January 2. The government suggested that foreign powers were behind the protests and promoted loyalist counter-demonstrations.

"Iran's growing nuclear activities and its remaining nuclear infrastructure will have been granted legitimacy by the global community, its defensive and offensive military capabilities will be greater, and the United States will have agreed not only to refrain from imposing additional sanctions on Iran for nuclear advances but will also have suspended its most significant sanctions". Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari.

"Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!"

Khamenei has blamed other governments for driving the anti-government protests that began last Thursday. This time, they are populist.