Widespread protests in the Islamic Republic of Iran have spread to over 25 cities since Thursday and led to the deaths of 21 people as of Tuesday.
The massive demonstrations have been compared to the national unrest of 2009, when large numbers of Iranians protested the results of that year's presidential election.
Here, in no particular order, are five important things to know about the demonstrations and the response to the protesters' actions.
They include the position of the Trump administration and what Iran's government is saying in reaction.
Protests Started Over Cost of Living, Foreign Policy
The demonstrations began Thursday in Mashhad, the second-most populous city, and have spread to more than 25 cities and towns including Tehran, the capital, as well as the city of Qom, which is seen as the heartland of the clerics, according to The Times.
A major reason for the protests has been "high prices of basic goods" according to the BBC, as well as objections to the nation's foreign policy.
"The demonstrations were initially about the failure of President Hassan Rouhani's government to revive Iran's struggling economy, address high unemployment and inflation, and combat alleged corruption," the BBC reports.
Youth unemployment in Iran currently stands at 40 percent, and people are angry about a huge government spending on the military and the war in Syria.
In contrast to the 2009 protests, which included public figures like former presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi, at present the protests lack an official figurehead. In an interview with Slate published Monday, Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, described the demonstrations as "leaderless." "One of the things we have to keep in mind is that these protests, the citizens who are protesting, they're leaderless. They're unorganized. They're unarmed," explained Sadjadpour. "The regime's coercive apparatus, the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militia, they're heavily armed. They're heavily organized. They have a level of experience with repression and crowd control."
The Trump administration has expressed support for the protestors, demanding that the Islamic Republic respect the rights of those taking part in the demonstrations.
In a tweet posted Friday evening, President Donald Trump warned the Iranian regime that the "world is watching" the protests and how the government handles them.
"Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime's corruption and its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian gov't should respect their people's rights, including right to express themselves," tweeted President Trump.
In a statement released Friday evening, the State Department also emphasized the rights of Iranians to protest their government and its policies.
"Iran's leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos," the State Department said. "The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption."
As with the 2009 nationwide protests, the government crackdown on the massive demonstrations have led to several deaths. CNN reports that 9 people, including 7 protesters, were killed Monday, which has increased the total death toll as of Tuesday morning to 21. The BBC noted that the government's security forces "initially appeared to show a degree of restraint," when the protests were excluded to Mashhad, but that "as the protests spread, the clampdown intensified." "The authorities have also blocked access to social media websites and the messaging app Telegram, which is used by millions of Iranians, in an attempt to stop calls for protests and the sharing of videos and photographs online," noted the BBC.
Iranian Leader Blames 'Enemies' Rather Than Economy
For his part, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that the blame for the protests come not from economic woes or government policies but rather from the nation's enemies.
"The enemy is waiting for an opportunity, for a flaw, through which they can enter. Look at these events over the last few days," said Khamenei.
"All those who are against the Islamic Republic — those who have money, those who have the politics, those who have the weapons, those who have the intelligence — they have all joined forces in order to create problems for the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution."