Iranians protest against high prices in Mashhad

Glen Norman
December 30, 2017

Hundreds of Iranians hit the streets in the northeastern cities of Mashhad and Kashmar on Thursday to protest rising commodity prices and perceived government mismanagement, according to local media reports.

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 quake in November that killed over 600 residents.

Police arrested 52 people in Thursday's protests, Fars quoted a judicial official as saying in Mashhad.

Shah of Iran
GETTY LEADER The Shah of Iran was ousted to make way for the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Separately on Friday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that around 300 protesters also gathered in the western city of Kermanshah to protest the price hikes, damaging some public property.

What began as a protest against economic conditions and corruption has turned political. He added that if people want to show their anger by amassing in large numbers they should seek permission from the authorities first.

The governor of Mashhad, Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, said that "the demonstration was illegal but the police dealt with people with tolerance".

A rally is also scheduled planned for tomorrow in Tehran to mark the anniversary of massive government-sponsored demonstrations in December of 2009 that followed a crackdown and months of unrest after the contentious presidential elections in June of that year.

Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators chanting "Death to (President Hassan) Rouhani" and "Death to the dictator".

Some demonstrators also called for an end to Iran's involvement in the Syrian civil war, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad, as well as for the state to stop using public funds to support Shi'ites in Lebanon and Palestinians against the Israeli occupation.

President Rouhani promised that the deal he signed with world powers in 2015, which saw Iran limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of global sanctions, would boost economic growth.

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, described the protests as a "social and political movement" and warned Rouhani's hardline opponents that "those behind such events will burn their own fingers".

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

Jahangiri also said, to resolve economic problems, the Iranian government needs to establish global communications with the world and to take advantage of its current domestic capacities.

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