Tehran restricts internet access amid deadly nationwide protests
Read more: Iran's Khamenei slams 'hooligan' protesters, backs petrol price hike that sparked anger
On Sunday, a police officer succumbed to wounds sustained during clashes with protesters in Iran’s Kermanshah city a day earlier.
Major Iraj Javaheri was reportedly shot in the back after clashes erupted when protesters attacked police headquarters in the western city, state media reported on the second day of widespread protests against a hike in petrol prices.Javaheri was shot in a standoff with "rioters and thugs" on Saturday and succumbed to his wounds on Sunday, according to IRNA state news agency.
The death came as security forces arrested some 40 protesters in the Iranian city of Yazd, state media reported.
Iran’s economy is suffering under severe economic sanctions imposed by President Trump since May 2018, when he pulled Washington out of the 2015 deal with world powers that imposed controls on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.
Since wide-ranging sanctions were reimposed on Iran, the rial has plummeted, inflation is running at more than 40 percent and the International Monetary Fund expects Iran's economy to contract by nine percent this year and stagnate in 2020.
Iran's supreme leader on Sunday threw his support behind a decision to impose petrol price hikes and rationing, a move that sparked angry protests in the sanctions-hit country.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed "hooligans" for damaging property and said "all the centres of the world's wickedness against us have cheered" the unrest.
Khamenei said that "I am not an expert and there are different opinions but I had said that if the heads of the three branches make a decision I will support it".
"The heads of the branches made a decision with the backing of expert opinion and naturally it must be implemented," he said in a speech aired on state television.
"Some people would definitely get upset over this decision... but damaging and setting fire (to property) is not something (normal) people would do, it is hooligans," he added.
Khamenei also pointed at regime opponents abroad in what he called "the centres of the world's wickedness".
These included the Pahlavi royal family ousted in the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) group, which Iran considers a "terrorist" cult.
"What I am asking is that no one help these criminals," the supreme leader said, calling on people to distance themselves from those stoking the street protests.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Ahmad Nourian warned that security forces "will not hesitate to confront those disrupting peace and security and will identify the ringleaders and field forces and confront them".
He called on people to denounce "the opportunists and mercenaries" and help the police keep the peace, in comments quoted by ISNA.