Hundreds Of Iranians Protest High Prices In Northeastern City Of Mashhad

30 December, 2017, 02:38 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs

The protests were mostly directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's government, the Nazar media network reported. Usually the term "dictator" is addressed to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

State media quoted Mohsen Hamadani, a deputy governor of Tehran Province, as saying that law enforcement agencies would take tough measures against any gatherings in the wake of the protests in Mashhad. The province bore the brunt of a November 14 quake that killed at least 530 people and injured some 8,000 in Iran, leaving many others without shelter. Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics.

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.

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In social media footage, riot police were seen using water cannon and tear gas to disperse crowds.

But they also showed 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.

Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, a Rohani ally, suggested that hard-line opponents of the president may have started the protests in Mashhad. "They think they will hurt the government by doing so", he warned.

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A message calling for "No to high prices" protests was circulated recently on Telegram, he wrote in another tweet.

He has succeeded in bringing inflation down to single digits - from highs of more than 40 percent under his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Nazar and the semi-official Ilna news agency reported that there were also smaller protests on Thursday in Neyshabour, Kashmar, Yazd and Shahroud.

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