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Iran arrested 52 in economy protests, official says

Iran arrested 52 in economy protests, official says

Iran arrested 52 in economy protests, official says

They were among a group of 50 people who gathered in a city square, Tehran's deputy governor-general for security affairs told the Iranian Labour News Agency.

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

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 natural disaster in November that killed over 600 residents.

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

Rajavi added: "Yesterday the city of Mashhad and today Kermanshah and tomorrow all over Iran, this is the great uprising of the people to bring down the tyrannical corrupt dictatorship of the mullahs".

Videos posted online showed a crowd in Mashhad chanting "Death to the dictator" and "Death to Rohani", with police using water cannons to push back the crowds.

The last unrest of national significance occurred in 2009 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election as president ignited eight months of street protests.

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The report quoted the security deputy of Tehran's governor, Mohsen Hamedani, as saying that fewer than 50 people gathered at a public square in Tehran, and that majority left after a police warning but a few chose to stay on.

The Basij militias intervened to suppress demonstrators in Kermanshah who repeated anti-regime slogans such as "Death to the dictator" and "Death to Rouhani", as well as slogans of solidarity with their counterparts in Mashhad, shouting "Do not be afraid, we are all united". At least 100 protesters were arrested in Mashhad.

Iranians chanted slogans against the regime during protests in the country's second most populated city on Thursday. "Forget Syria, think of us" read the protesters' banners. "Those who are behind such events will burn their own fingers", IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying.

Mashhad was among the areas hardest hit by the closure of Mizan, which had around one million accounts, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Unemployment stood at 12.4 percent this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Center of Iran, up 1.4 percent from the previous year.

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.

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