FURIOUS crowds in Iran have chanted "death to the dictator" while government officials have been heckled in a rare show of defiance to the regime.

Angry protests triggered by the Iranian government's response to a building collapse that killed at least 32 people last week have spiralled into widespread unrest over skyrocketing food prices.

In dramatic scenes, an emissary sent by the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was shouted down by the crowd.

Flanked by bodyguards, Ayatollah Mohsen Heidari AleKasir tried to address upset mourners near the site of the 10-storey Metropol Building on Sunday night.

Turning to his security guard, the confused-looking official in his 60s whispered "what's happening?" before he leaned in to tell him something in reply.

The entire extraordinary incident was broadcast live to the people of Iran on state-controlled TV.


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He was speaking from the southwestern Iranian city of Abadan around 410 miles southwest of the capital Tehran where at least 32 people died last week after the tower collapsed.

Finally, the emissary pleads with the crowd to "keep calm, as a sign of respect to Abadan," and said that "the whole Iranian nation is mourning tonight".

But as the protesters drown him out again, chanting "shameless!" state TV suddenly cut the live feed.

Demonstrators later chanted: "I will kill the one who killed my brother!"

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Tehran-based daily newspaper Hamshahri and the Fars news agency denied cutting the feed deliberately and claimed protesters had attacked the platform where state TV had set up its camera.

Riot police reportedly responded with a violent crackdown against demonstrators, using clubs and teargas to try and stop the unrest.

At least one officer was seen firing what appeared to be a shotgun, although it wasn't clear if it was live rounds or "beanbag" rounds designed to stun.

However, it appears that the protests show no signs of stopping just yet, with footage from Tehran appearing to show crowds chanting "death to Khamenei" in the streets.

And they are rising up against a regime currently led by President Ebrahim Raisi – a brutal former prosecutor known as The Butcher.

Speaking to The Sun Online, Hossein Abedini, deputy director of the National Council of Resistance of Iran's (NCRI) UK office said: "The protests in Abadan since Monday, May 23 when the Metropol high-rise collapsed reflects the actual spirit of the Iranian society in the face of a regime that in addition to absolute suppression at home, has as a priority regional interventionism and export of terrorism while their own people back home are no longer able to make ends meet.

"Several southern cities have risen in solidarity with Abadan, and for a week there has been unrest in cities as far as Isfahan and even Tehran.

The population no longer fears repressive measures by the regime

"Mourning ceremonies and demonstrations quickly turned into anti-regime protests with slogans such as 'down with Khamenei', 'death to the dictator', and 'Khamenei is a murderer, and his rule is illegitimate!'"

He went on: "The important element is that the population no longer fears repressive measures by the regime.

"Despite the heavy presence of special forces and anti-riot police in the cities, people challenge the authorities directly, as seen in numerous video clips where angry protesters cry 'shameless guy! Shameless guy!' to the Friday prayers leader of Abadan who tries to quench popular rage through a speech."

The NCRI's president-elect Maryam Rajavi last week said that "the tragedy in Abadan is a manifestation of the 43-year rule of the clerical regime, which has brought Iranian people nothing but crimes, corruption, and theft.

"These protests and anti-regime slogans reflect the desires of all Iranians to overthrow the mullahs' ominous rule."

Following the collapse of the tower last Monday, authorities have acknowledged that the owner of the building and corrupt government officials had allowed construction to continue, despite fears over shoddy workmanship.

So far, 13 people including the city's mayor have been arrested as part of an investigation into the disaster.

More people are feared to be trapped under the debris.

Concerns have now been raised by emergency authorities in Tehran about some 129 high-rise buildings in the capital.

It comes as pressure grows on the Islamic Republic regime over soaring food prices and an economic crisis amid the unravelling of its nuclear deal with world powers.

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Although so far there is no clear leader among the protesters, a number of Arab tribes in the region appeared to have joined crowds in the streets, sparking fears of violent unrest.

Meanwhile, tensions between Iran and the West have grown after the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guards seized two Greek oil tankers on Friday.

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