WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Protests in Iran are a sign of "real popular dissatisfaction" with the country's leaders, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.

Disturbances in Iran began in mid-November over gasoline price hikes but quickly turned political, with demonstrators demanding the removal of the country's leaders in the bloodiest anti-government protests since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"My own feeling is that this is not just about fuel prices, this is a sign of real popular dissatisfaction with the regime and frankly I am by no means surprised," Johnson told reporters at a news conference following a NATO summit.

"As so often, Iranian disruption in the region is a distraction from the failings of the Iranian regime."

(Writing by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison)

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