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Iran cities hit by anti-government protests

Iran cities hit by anti-government protests”

She said, "The courageous protests erupting in vast parts of Iran today, once again demonstrate that the overthrow of the clerical regime and replacing it with democracy and popular sovereignty is a nationalist and nationwide demand".

The semiofficial Ilna news agency reported there were smaller protests in Neyshabour, Kashmar, Yazd, and Shahroud.

Videos of the protests in Mashhad, a pilgrimage destination in Iran's northeast, showed people chanting "Death to Rouhani".

The protests in Kermanshah, the main city in a region where an natural disaster killed over 600 people in November, took place a day after hundreds rallied in Iran's second largest city Mashhad to protest at high prices and shout anti-government slogans.

The Basij militias intervened to suppress demonstrators in Kermanshah who repeated anti-regime slogans such as "Death to the dictator" and "Death to Rouhani", as well as slogans of solidarity with their counterparts in Mashhad, shouting "Do not be afraid, we are all united".

Slogans have been chanted against not just Mr Rouhani but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and clerical rule in general.

In solidarity with protestors in Mashhad in northeastern Iran, protesters marched amid attempts by security forces to intimidate and threaten them.

Protests took place in several other cities in response to calls on the Telegram messaging app for demonstrations against high prices.

Protests were held also in the town of Quchan near the Turkmen border, and in Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province, social media and Iranian news websites reported.

The central subjects of protest are soaring prices and widespread corruption but videos widely shared on social media show chants like "death to dictator" and "down with Rouhani", referring to the so-called moderate President.

They were among a group of 50 people who gathered in a city square, Tehran's deputy governor-general for security affairs told the Iranian Labour News Agency.

The initial cause of the protests was reportedly public anger over rising prices for food, a generally high inflation rate, and high unemployment. "Not Lebanon! My life for Iran!" and "Leave Syria, think about us!"

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, suggested that hardline conservative opponents of the pragmatist president might have triggered the protests but lost control of them.

According to a BBC Persian investigation, Iranians have become 15 percent poorer in the past 10 years, on average.

Rouhani's leading achievement, a 2015 deal with world powers that curbed Iran's disputed nuclear program in return for a lifting of most worldwide sanctions, has yet to bring the broad economic benefits the government says are coming.

Out of a total Iranian population of 80 million, some 3.2 million are jobless, according to official data.



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