Trump calls for change as Iran protests leave at least 20 dead

By Caitlyn Jones, Web Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 02, 2018, 8:58 AM EST

President Donald Trump says it's "time for a change" in Iran after protests there have now lead to at least 20 deaths.

  • Violet protests started nearly a week ago
  • At least 20 dead, 450 arrested
  • Protests started due to Iran's weak economy

The violent demonstrations have been going on for about six days now, with 450 arrests.

Trump tweeted that a change is needed.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on State TV over the weekend that Trump is "constantly creating problems" for Iranians

These protests began Thursday over economic issues and expanded to several cities.

Offering his first comments since they began, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday accused the "enemies of Iran" of meddling in the country's affairs.

The protests began Thursday in Mashhad over Iran's weak economy and a jump in food prices and have expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested and a prominent judge on Tuesday warned that some could face death penalty trials.

They are the worst protests in the country since 2009 when demonstrators took to the streets after what they believed was a rigged election.

The protests began over Iran's economy, which has improved since the nuclear deal that saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the end of some international sanctions. Tehran now sells its oil on the global market and has signed deals to purchase tens of billions of dollars' worth of Western aircraft.

That improvement has not reached the average Iranian, however. Unemployment remains high, and official inflation has crept up to 10 percent again. A recent increase in egg and poultry prices by as much as 40 percent, which the government has blamed on a cull over avian flu fears, appears to have been the spark for the economic protests.

Former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also weighed in on Iran.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.