Published: Sat, December 30, 2017
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Iran cities hit by anti-government protests

Iran cities hit by anti-government protests

However, he noted that a call for "No to high prices" protests had been circulated on the messaging app Telegram.

Mashhad's Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian condemned the protesters for what he referred to as their "illegal" demonstration while praising the police for "showing extreme restraint" and arresting people "who wanted to destroy public property".

"The slogans quickly changed from the economy to those against (President Hassan) Rouhani and the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)", the resident said by telephone. "But towards the end, baton-wielding police attacked the crowd from both sides of the street and arrested some people".

Police arrested 52 people in Thursday's protests, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a judicial official as saying in Mashhad.

"Iran's leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos".

Some footage in social media showed police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse demonstrators, but it could not be verified. He added that if people want to show their anger by amassing in large numbers they should seek permission from the authorities first. After the 2009 election, protesters gathered in the streets to challenge what they believed was a fraudulent vote that returned hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a new term.

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Some others chanted "Leave Syria alone, think about us", condemning Iran's financial and military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces are fighting government opponents in a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

There is also anger at Iran's interventions overseas.

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, described the protests as a "social and political movement" and warned Rouhani's hardline opponents that "those behind such events will burn their own fingers".

President Rouhani promised that the deal he signed with world powers in 2015, which saw Iran limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of worldwide sanctions, would boost economic growth.

Out of the 80-million population, some 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, equating to an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Center of Iran.

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