Dozens Arrested in Iran's Second City After Protests Over Prices

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According to the information provided by the network of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran inside the country, the anti-regime protests in Iranian cities have continued on Friday.

The demonstrations are the most serious and widespread expression of public discontent in Iran since protests in 2009 that followed a disputed election, correspondents say.

The protests have continued even as anti-riot units of the State Security Forces were stationed extensively throughout the city.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency quoted Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, the Mashhad governor, as saying there was an illegal "No To High Prices" gathering in the city.

Footage on social media showed protesters in Kermanshah's central Azadi Square chanting "Death to the dictator" and "The nation is struggling in poverty; the leader is trying to act as God".

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Political rallies are rare in Iran, but demonstrations are often held over economic issues such as layoffs, nonpayment of salaries, and price hikes.

Similarly, Iran's revolutionary court head, Hossein Heidari was quoted by Fars as saying: "We consider a protest to be the people's right but if some people want to abuse these emotions and ride this wave, we won't wait and will confront them".

Hundreds of Iranians protested in the northeastern city of Mashhad against the rising cost of food and other essentials, with local authorities saying an unspecified number of people had been arrested.

Protests were also reported in the city of Rasht.

Videos published by a small reformist media group, Nazar, showed people in Mashhad chanting "Death to Rouhani".

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There is also anger at Iran's interventions overseas.

Iran's senior vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri said Friday that some political factions are using the economy as an excuse to attack the government, pointing to external influences behind the protests. "They think they will hurt the government by doing so", he warned.

Rouhani's government has faced criticism since his May re-election from both hardline opponents and disillusioned supporters, who had been expecting a broader economic recovery following the country's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and easing of worldwide sanctions.

The prices of many basic goods, including eggs, have recently increased by 30-40 percent.

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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