A number of Iranians have died amid ongoing nationwide anti-government protests that began last week in various cities across Iran.

Nine Iranians were reportedly killed in Isfahan province alone during antigovernment protests on Monday night.

Iranian state media said yesterday that six people were killed in Isfahan's central town Qahderijan - during a raid on a police station - and one more in Khomeinishahr.

According to state media, the rioters were attempting to break into the station to obtain weapons.

According to state media, overall, at least 21 people have died in Iran during six days of protests.

Recall, rallies against high inflation for basic food products and other economic woes began in Iran's second-largest city, Mashhad.

Demonstrations were reportedly taking place in dozens of towns and cities throughout Iran, including several places in the capital, Tehran.

Other cities where demonstrations have taken place include Sanandaj, Ilam, Khoramdareh, Kermanshah, Izeh, Ahvaz, Shahin Shahr, and Tuyserkan,

450 people have reportedly been arrested so far.

Earlier on January 2, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Tehran's "enemies" of fomenting antigovernment demonstrations.

In his first comments since the outbreak of protests on December 28, Khamenei accused the “enemies of Iran" of meddling in the country's affairs through their "money, weapons, politics, and intelligence services.”

Iran's reformist politicians also blamed the violence on “the enemies of Iran.”  A statement on January 2 by the Association of Religious Combatants headed by reformist former President Mohammad Khatami said that “opportunists and troublemakers have exploited the demonstrations to create problems.”  The statement said “the United States and their agents...have encouraged the troublemakers and the violent actions.”

President Hassan Rouhani has called for unity in the country and said the unrest is an opportunity to address problems plaguing Iran, especially unemployment.  Speaking after a meeting with the heads of parliamentary committees on January 1, Rouhani said the protests are not only related to economics but a cry from citizens for more freedom.

Iranian Police Commander Brigadier General Hussein Ashtari said on Tuesday that people should watch out not to be deceived by the plots indicating fake death tolls during recent protests, according to IRNA.

All police forces nationwide have been ordered to seriously deal with those threatening the lives of people or looters of public assets, he was quoted as saying. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has praised the courage of Iranian demonstrators and has rejected claims by Iran's leadership that the protests were designed by "Iran's enemies" and driven by outside forces.

Speaking on January 2 to reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Haley said Washington would seek an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva about the killing of protesters in Iran by police and government forces.  "We must not be silent," Haley said. "The people of Iran are crying out for freedom."

“Now the Iranian dictatorship is trying to do what it always does, which is to say that the protests were designed by Iran's enemies. We all know that's complete nonsense,” Haley said.  “The demonstrations are completely spontaneous.  They are virtually in every city in Iran.  This is the precise picture of a long-oppressed people rising up against their dictators.”

Iran’s Press TV reports Iran's UN mission on January 2 released a statement strongly condemning comments made by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley concerning the riots in the country.

The statement described Haley's and other US officials’ remarks as idle talks aimed at supporting violence and unrest in the country.

It added that the comments are all part of Washington’s attempts to mask its political failures and those of its allies in the region and to take revenge on the brave people of Iran.

It also called them “crocodile tears” while adding that the people of Iran still remember Washington’s support for the Pahlavi monarchy and the 1953 coup d'état in Iran.