'Cutting Iran's oil from market by November impossible'

Thousands of Iranians shut down Tehran's Grand Bazaar in largest protest in years

It remains unclear who is leading the protests, but analysts say hardliners wanting to challenge Mr Rouhani most likely sparked similar demonstrations last December and into January. In fact, India is one of the main importers of oil from Iran.

Iranians across the country have been protesting the nation's crumbling economy and government leadership for months.

The protests, which began on Monday in Tehran and around the country - including economically hard-hit cities like Kermanshah in western Iran - featured shouts of "Death to Palestine", "No to Gaza, no to Lebanon" and "Leave Syria and think of us", highlighting Iran's continued support for Palestinian groups and Syrian President Bashar Assad despite the country's dire economic state.

On Monday traders had massed outside parliament to complain about the plunge to record lows of Iran's currency. In his sermon celebrating the end of Ramadan, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei urged his countrymen to stop going overseas and taking foreign currency out of Iran. "We have enough foreign currency to inject into the market", Rouhani said in his speech.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said during a meeting with judiciary officials on Wednesday that authorities need to ensure an "atmosphere of security" and that the judiciary "must confront those who disrupt economic security".

But as U.S. pressure constricts Iran's access to the global banking system, its ability to deploy some of those resources may have suffered.

The US official said Indian and Chinese companies would be subject to the same sanctions as those in other countries.

"We will take problems".

The rial is under heavy pressure from the United States sanctions threat. "But we are not against the regime", said a merchant in the Tehran bazaar, according to Reuters. This compares to around 43,000 at the end of past year.

"It should surprise no one #IranProtests continue".

In May, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a wholesale change in Iran's military and regional policies, threatening the "strongest sanctions in history" if it refused.

An Iranian oil official dismissed USA efforts to squeeze Iran's oil industry.

"Iran exports 2.5 million barrel per day of crude oil and gas condensate and cutting it easily and in a period of a few months is impossible", the official said.

Police were there to confront protesters once again as the masses wanted to march to the Parliament.

Mehrdad Emadi, an Iranian economist who heads energy risk analysis at London's Betamatrix consultancy, estimated USA sanctions could cause Iran's crude oil exports to drop by between 500,000 and 800,000 bpd in coming months.

Rouhani told Iranians the government can withstand a new round of USA sanctions following President Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The last time round, India had worked out a rupee-rial exchange system for India to pay for Iranian oil. Japan and Turkey also import significant amounts of Iranian oil, according to statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Agency. When Trump pulled out from the deal in May it stewed fears of renewed United States sanctions, which are set to return in August, and has led to the collapse of the rial to record lows against the U.S. dollar in unofficial exchange markets.

Then, Iran had some $150 billion of currency stored overseas in countries such as China and Turkey as well as European banks.

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