Nine dead, hundreds arrested as fresh protests hit Iran

Netanyahu refutes Rouhani's claim Israel is behind Iran protests

The estimated death toll is now 21 from 5 days of unrest that represent the biggest challenge to the Islamic regime since mass demonstrations in 2009.

The Revolutionary Guards have yet to fully intervene against the protesters, but published photos on Monday of three wanted people and called on the public to report any "seditionist elements".

The ILNA news agency report on Tuesday quoted Ali Asghar Nasserbakht, a security deputy governor of Tehran, offering the figure.

At least 20 demonstrators were killed by repressive forces amid ongoing nationwide protests that began last week in various cities across Iran. All were reportedly shot by hunting rifles.

At least 12 people have been killed in rallies across Iran in protest against the regime.

The slaying marked the first security force member to be killed in the unrest.

It reported that clashes were sparked by rioters who tried to steal guns from the police station.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected comments by Iran President Hassan Rouhani, who blamed Israel for standing behind the anti-government protests in Iran. "I demand all prosecutors across the country to get involved", said Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the Associated Press reported.

"The people of Izeh city, like some other cities in Iran, gathered in protest over the economic problems, which unfortunately led to the deaths of two people and the wounding of others in the city", Hedayatullah Khademi said.

Authorities have also blocked access to Instagram and the messaging app Telegram to try to damp down the protests.

Rouhani also stressed Monday that Iran 'has seen many similar events and passed them easily'.

Many Iranians resent those foreign interventions, and want their leaders to create jobs at home, where youth unemployment reached 28.8 per cent in 2017.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has weighed in on Twitter apparently in favour of the protesters saying it is "time for change" in Iran. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Many of those sanctions were lifted as part of a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, but few Iranians have benefited from the relief.

Nearly nine years since the "Green movement" reformist protests were crushed by the state, Iran's adversaries voiced their support for the resurgence of anti-government sentiment.

"Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted", Trump tweeted. However, he said that the accusations of Israeli involvement were "not only false; it's laughable".

'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 worldwide obligations on human rights to be observed, ' he said.

Tehran now sells its oil on the global market and has signed deals to purchase tens of billions of dollars' worth of Western aircraft. Unemployment remains high, and official inflation has crept up to 10% again.

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