Sudden large scale nationwide protests have shaken Iran. Sections of the masses have shown utter defiance of the regime. Youth, facing unemployment estimated to be between 25% and 40%, have particularly been to the fore. The protests, initially against the rise in prices and corruption, almost immediately developed into fighting and clashes with security forces with a mounting death toll. In some cities, people attacked police stations, pro-regime paramilitary headquarters and religious seminaries. This rapid development seemed unbelievable even for the most optimistic political analysts and activists.