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Price Protests Spread in Iran

Price Protests Spread in Iran

Saturday, 30 December, 2017 - 07:00
Photo spread on social media shows special forces blocking the road to protesters in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah

Protests against high prices, unemployment, the government’s performance and its regional behavior expanded in Iran on Friday amid an exchange of accusations among Iranian officials.

Security forces in the western city of Kermanshah resorted to violence by using tear gas and engaging in a fistfight with demonstrators.

Protests also took place in the central city of Isfahan, the cities of Sari and Rasht in the north, Qazvin west of Tehran and Qom south of the capital, and also in Hamadan in western Iran.

Demonstrations were also held in Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan province, and other cities.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and the head of the judicial system, Sadeq Larijani.

They also slammed Iran’s interference in regional affairs and government spending on Lebanon's “Hezbollah” and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

Iranians were quick to react on social media, while state media limited its coverage to statements made by Iranian officials to warn against holding protests.

The media of the Revolutionary Guards, broke its silence, admitting that several demonstrations had been held in difference Iranian cities, and holding the government responsible for its weak economic performance.

Cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda called earlier for tough action against the protests.

"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 Iranian regime has lost its revolutionary base in Mashhad," Reuters quoted Alamolhoda as saying.

Alamolhoda, the representative of Khamenei in Mashhad, said a few people had taken advantage of Thursday's protests against rising prices to chant slogans against Iran's role in regional conflicts.

Some people had come to express their demands, but suddenly, in a crowd of hundreds, a small group that did not exceed 50 shouted deviant and horrendous slogans such as 'Let go of Palestine', 'Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I'd give my life (only) for Iran'," Alamolhoda said.

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri suggested that Rouhani’s opponents might have triggered the protests.

The government needs solutions by the elite to improve the country, he said.

His statement came as part of the exchange of accusations among Iranian officials on the side that triggered the protests.

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