Iran: Arrests in Tehran after protests over price hikes

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranians protesting the country’s strained economy gathered in Tehran and another major city on Friday, for the second day of spontaneous, unsanctioned demonstrations placing pressure on President Hassan Rouhani’s government.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported that officials said around 300 protesters gathered in the western city of Kermanshah, the scene of a devastating earthquake in November that killed over 600 residents. In Tehran, fewer than 50 people protested at a public square.

Fars reported that protesters in Kermanshah chanted anti-government slogans such as “never mind Palestine, think about us”, “death or freedom” and “political prisoners should be freed.” They damaged some public property before police dispersed them.

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

The security deputy of Tehran’s governor, Mohsen Hamedani, said that fewer than 50 people gathered at a public square in Tehran, and that most of them left after a police warning but a few decided to stay on.

“A few of them were temporarily arrested,” Hamedani said, without elaborating on the exact figure.

Many angry demonstrators had protested in many cities across the country on Thursday, including the second-largest city of Mashhad, over rising food prices and inflation.

The head of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad, Hasan Heidari, told Fars that 52 protesters were arrested in Mashhad over their “illegal” gathering on Thursday.

This latest wave of protests is placing new pressure on Rouhani as his signature nuclear deal with world powers remains in peril.

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