Iranians gather around a charred police station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in the central city of Isfahan on November 17, 2019. - President Hassan Rouhani warned  that riot-hit Iran could not allow "insecurity" after two days of unrest killed two people and saw authorities arrest dozens and restrict internet access. Rouhani defended the controversial petrol price hike that triggered the protests -- a project which the government says will finance social welfare spending amid a sharp economic downturn (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
-/AFP via Getty Images
Iranians gather around a charred police station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in the central city of Isfahan on November 17, 2019. - President Hassan Rouhani warned that riot-hit Iran could not allow "insecurity" after two days of unrest killed two people and saw authorities arrest dozens and restrict internet access. Rouhani defended the controversial petrol price hike that triggered the protests -- a project which the government says will finance social welfare spending amid a sharp economic downturn (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:57
Iran says security forces may act against gas price protests
Myanmar Bago killing Hancocks pkg intl hnk vpx_00002309.png
Myanmar Bago killing Hancocks pkg intl hnk vpx_00002309.png
Now playing
03:39
Eyewitnesses recount bloody crackdown in Bago, Myanmar
MAY LEWIS via Reuters
Now playing
00:49
Here's why this river turned white
Hong Kong national security education day Lu Stout W&T intl hnk vpx_00013016.png
Hong Kong national security education day Lu Stout W&T intl hnk vpx_00013016.png
Now playing
01:42
Hong Kong police showcase 'Chinese-style goose-stepping'
brazil coronavirus jair bolsonaro rio de janeiro Darlington pkg intl ldn vpx_00003012.png
AFP
brazil coronavirus jair bolsonaro rio de janeiro Darlington pkg intl ldn vpx_00003012.png
Now playing
02:43
Last week, coronavirus killed 3 people every minute in Brazil
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: U.S. President Joe Biden announces new economic sanctions against the Russia government from the East Room of the White House on April 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden announced sanctions against 32 companies and individuals that are aimed at choking off lending to the Russian government and in response to the 2020 hacking operation that breached American government agencies and some of the nation's largest companies. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: U.S. President Joe Biden announces new economic sanctions against the Russia government from the East Room of the White House on April 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden announced sanctions against 32 companies and individuals that are aimed at choking off lending to the Russian government and in response to the 2020 hacking operation that breached American government agencies and some of the nation's largest companies. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
06:49
Biden imposes new sanctions on Russia
CNN's Becky Anderson speaks with Fatima Gailani, an Afghan women's rights activist and government peace negotiator, about her views on the planned withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
CNN
CNN's Becky Anderson speaks with Fatima Gailani, an Afghan women's rights activist and government peace negotiator, about her views on the planned withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Now playing
03:49
Afghan negotiator: I'm worried about withdrawal without peace
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, took in flowers left in tribute to his recently deceased father Prince Philip. The flowers had initially been left outside Buckingham Palace but were moved over the road to Marlborough House.
UK Pool via ITN
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, took in flowers left in tribute to his recently deceased father Prince Philip. The flowers had initially been left outside Buckingham Palace but were moved over the road to Marlborough House.
Now playing
01:56
Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall view tributes for Prince Philip
screengrab afghanistan taliban
AFPTV
screengrab afghanistan taliban
Now playing
03:50
How Taliban may run Afghanistan after US troops withdraw
Tokyo Olympics 100 days countdown Essig pkg intl hnk vpx_00000000.png
Tokyo Olympics 100 days countdown Essig pkg intl hnk vpx_00000000.png
Now playing
03:14
Growing concerns over Tokyo Olympics Covid-19 safety measures
screengrab japan fukushima daiichi
IAEA
screengrab japan fukushima daiichi
Now playing
02:31
Japan plans to release treated Fukushima water into sea
SUEZ, EGYPT - MARCH 29: The container ship 'Ever Given' is refloated, unblocking the Suez Canal on March 29, 2021 in Suez, Egypt. This morning the container ship came partly unstuck from the shoreline, where it ran aground in the canal last Tuesday, and later resumed its course shortly after 3pm local time. The Suez Canal is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and the blockage had created a backlog of vessels at either end, raising concerns over the impact on global shipping and supply chains. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)
Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images
SUEZ, EGYPT - MARCH 29: The container ship 'Ever Given' is refloated, unblocking the Suez Canal on March 29, 2021 in Suez, Egypt. This morning the container ship came partly unstuck from the shoreline, where it ran aground in the canal last Tuesday, and later resumed its course shortly after 3pm local time. The Suez Canal is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and the blockage had created a backlog of vessels at either end, raising concerns over the impact on global shipping and supply chains. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:57
Egypt seizes Ever Given ship, asks for $900M in compensation
Taiwan has been the chief source of tension between Washington and Beijing for decades and is widely seen as the most likely trigger for a potentially catastrophic US-China war. The worry about Taiwan comes as China wields new strength from years of military buildup. CNN's David Culver reports.
PLA Air Force/Weibo
Taiwan has been the chief source of tension between Washington and Beijing for decades and is widely seen as the most likely trigger for a potentially catastrophic US-China war. The worry about Taiwan comes as China wields new strength from years of military buildup. CNN's David Culver reports.
Now playing
04:04
Dramatic videos show Chinese naval exercises amid rising tensions over Taiwan
CNN
Now playing
05:40
Unprecedented footage shows front line of Ukrainian conflict with Russia
5995404 02.09.2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a news conference following his meeting with his Russian counterpart Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia. Iliya Pitalev / Sputnik  via AP
Iliya Pitalev/SPTNK/Sputnik via AP
5995404 02.09.2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a news conference following his meeting with his Russian counterpart Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia. Iliya Pitalev / Sputnik via AP
Now playing
04:09
Iran accuses Israel of sabotaging nuclear site, vows revenge
Ash rises into the air as La Soufriere volcano erupts on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, seen from Chateaubelair, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Orvil Samuel/AP
Ash rises into the air as La Soufriere volcano erupts on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, seen from Chateaubelair, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Now playing
01:08
See the looming clouds of ash over La Soufrière volcano
screengrab Vanuatu villagers mourn philip
Reuters
screengrab Vanuatu villagers mourn philip
Now playing
02:03
Remote tribe worships Prince Philip as god, mourns his death
(CNN) —  

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has claimed victory over the ongoing unrest in the country, state media reported Wednesday, six days after nationwide protests erupted following an abrupt spike in gas prices.

Speaking at a government meeting in Tehran, Rouhani said the country had been “victorious out of yet another test” and that “despite the country’s economic problems and existing grievances,” Iran had demonstrated it “would never allow the balance to tilt in favor of the enemy,” according to state broadcaster Press TV.

Iran’s government has blamed foreign enemies for the recent unrest – the severity of which remains unclear because a near-total internet shutdown has halted the flow of information out of the country.

What’s happening?

Demonstrators first hit the streets on Friday, a day after the government announced an eye-watering hike in fuel prices by as much as 300%. Iran’s economy has already been crippled by US sanctions, which saw its currency tank, prices soar, and medical and food shortages grow widespread. The fuel hike could further exacerbate economic conditions, forcing greater price increases.

Rouhani has suggested that the protesters were not Iranians but anti-government forces “pre-planned by the reactionary regional regimes, the Zionists, and the Americans.” And Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said Tuesday the protests were related to security issues, rather than a movement by the Iranian people, and that “both friends and foes should know that we have repelled the enemy,” state news agency IRNA reported.

But the perspective of Iran’s protesters and ordinary civilians has been more difficult to ascertain in recent days.

Initially, images posted on social media showed rioters storming banks, petrol stations and government buildings and setting them ablaze. Then researchers at Netblocks, a group that tracks global connectivity, soon started noticing major drops in connectivity in Tehran and other cities.

While internet blackouts are not unheard of in the country, experts have said the scale and technical complexity of this particular blackout is different.

Social media posts have become less and less frequent as the blackout has taken full effect. CNN found many instances of videos purportedly showing ongoing clashes in the streets over the last 24 hours but was unable to verify them and they appeared to have been reposted from private Telegram groups.

Ordinarily, there are over 47 million active social media users in Iran, with Telegram and the Facebook-owned app Instagram being the most popular in the country.

David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, told CNN that the impact of internet shutdown makes it incredibly difficult to know what civilians are presently facing in Iran.

“Fundamentally, I don’t think we have a very good sense of what’s happening on the ground in Iran right now,” Kaye said. “The reporting has been spotty at best … We’re starting to hear about the protests and the use of force against the protesters.”

Kaye added, “The international community needs to be saying: keep the internet on, do not repress peaceful protest, use only proportionate means to deal with it, and and make sure that all your responses to protesters are in keeping with international human rights standards.”

The death toll in Iran

On Wednesday, the UN urged Iran to show restraint and resume internet connectivity.

“We have seen the reports of a significant death toll during recent protests in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We echo the statement on Iran made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday, including the call to immediately re-establish Iranians’ access to the internet,” Secretary General spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

“We continue to urge the Iranian authorities and security forces to exercise maximum restraint and avoid the use of force to disperse peaceful demonstrations.”

Iranian protesters block a road during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices in the central city of Shiraz on Saturday.
-/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Iranian protesters block a road during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices in the central city of Shiraz on Saturday.

Amnesty International said Tuesday the group had received credible reports that indicated at least 106 protesters in 21 cities had been killed but did not offer any evidence to substantiate its findings. The organization said it had gathered information that demonstrated Iranian security forces were employing “excessive and lethal force to crush largely peaceful protests.”

Human Rights Watch said “occasional video footage of protests posted on social media amid the internet shutdown appear to show security forces directly shooting at protesters in different cities.”

While he did not give specifics, Ayatollah Khamenei confirmed during a speech Sunday that “several” people had died in the protests. State media have reported that five members of government security forces have been killed during clashes with protesters this week. But a complete picture is yet to emerge as the government has withheld the total number of casualties and official death toll since the protests began.

CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali, and Hira Humayun contributed to this report from Atlanta. CNN’s Richard Roth, Ivana Kottasova and Sharif Paget also contributed to this report.