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Protesters arrested in Iran after rally against price hikes

Protesters arrested in Iran after rally against price hikes”

The largest protests were in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where 52 people were arrested.

Anti-government demonstrations in Iran is growing on its second day.

Rouhani's first vice-president, Eshaq Jahangiri, dismissed the demonstrations in a speech on Friday, and said economic issues were "being used as an excuse and something else, behind the curtain, is going on", the Iranian Students News Agency reported.

Reformist member of Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted his support for the people: "The people's protests in Mashhad and other cities are in fact an outcry against the confusion and shortcomings that exist in the top layers of the country".

Hundreds of people have protested against high prices in Iran's second largest city, shouting slogans denouncing President Hassan Rouhani.

Despite government arrests, threats, and attacks, calls for protest continue to social media.

Various chants appeared to target both Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, without naming him, and President Hassan Rohani.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, hailed Iranian protesters and admired women's courageous role in this major uprising.

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Police also arrested a small number of demonstrators in Tehran protesting price hikes and the president's economic policy.

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.

"If the security and law enforcement agencies leave the rioters to themselves, enemies will publish films and pictures in their media and say that the Islamic Republic system has lost its revolutionary base in Mashhad", the state news agency IRNA quoted Alamolhoda as saying.

Protests took place in several other cities in response to calls on the Telegram messaging app for demonstrations against high prices. Fifty-two people were arrested for chanting "harsh slogans".

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

More provocatively, there were also chants of "Death to the dictator", and "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran" - a reference to anger in some circles that the government is focusing on the wider region rather than improving conditions at home.

Mashhad was one of the worst-hit areas by the closure of Mizan, which had around one million accounts, leading to several protests in the city since 2015 according to the official IRNA news agency.



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