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Iranians gather around a charred police station while they protest the increase in oil prices in Isfahan, Iran. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

At least 106 people have been killed in Iran since protests over increased oil prices began last week, according to human rights group Amnesty International, which says the true death toll could be far higher.

The big picture: Iran was much quicker to use violent measures this time than during previous protests. The Iranian government also shut down the internet to prevent social media from further mobilizing protesters, per CNN.

Between the lines: "The regime feels under siege from U.S sanctions as well as protests which are challenging Iranian interests in Iraq and Lebanon. Leaders in Tehran fear the U.S. and its allies in the region would interpret any sign of Iranian compromise as weakness," Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group told Bloomberg.

  • The Iranian government continues to feel economic pressure from the U.S. sanctions, though protesters also blame the government for allowing corruption to run rampant, CNN reports.
  • The sanctions have "crippled Iran's economy, causing its currency to tank, prices to spiral, and trigger shortages in food and medical equipment," per CNN.
  • The Iranian government says the increase in oil prices will raise $2.55 billion per year to be used to subsidize the cost of living for 18 million families, Reuters reports.

What they're saying: The Trump administration has come out in support of the Iranian protesters.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, "The Iranian people will enjoy a better future when their government begins to respect basic human rights, abandons its revolutionary posture and its destabilizing activities in the region, and simply behaves like a normal nation. The choice is with the regime."
  • The White House also issued a statement saying the protests were spurred by Iran's decision to take funds away from the domestic economy in order to pay for its "fanatical" pursuit of nuclear weapons and to fund terrorist groups across the Middle East, Bloomberg writes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

5 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.