Iranians protest at corrupt clerics as inflation soars

Thousands protest in Iran in anti-government demonstrations

Thousands protest in Iran in anti-government demonstrations

A small number of people have been arrested in Tehran, the capital.

Protests were held also in the town of Quchan near the Turkmen border, and in Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province, social media and Iranian news websites reported.

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 protests in Kermanshah, the main city in a region where an natural disaster killed over 600 people in November, took place a day after hundreds rallied in Iran's second largest city Mashhad to protest at high prices and shout anti-government slogans.

"The slogans quickly changed from the economy to those against (President Hassan) Rouhani and the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)", the resident said by telephone.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency quoted Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, the Mashhad governor, as saying there was an illegal "No To High Prices" gathering in the city.

What began as a protest against economic conditions and corruption has turned political.

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.

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Protests took place in several other cities in response to calls on the Telegram messaging app for demonstrations against high prices. The Revolutionary Guard, a hard-line paramilitary organization, has vast economic interests in the country.

Footage on social media showed protesters in Kermanshah's central Azadi Square chanting "Death to the dictator" and "The nation is struggling in poverty; the leader is trying to act as God".

According to CHRI's investigations, social media users discussed the protests using the Farsi-language hashtag, "Mashhad". Fifty-two people were arrested for chanting "harsh slogans".

"They stole our country" and "left Syria. focused on us instead" the protestors shouted in criticism of Iran's deployment of troops in support of Bashar al-Assad's regime in the face of an uprising that broke out against him in 2011.

"Those who are behind such events will burn their own fingers".

Out of a total Iranian population of 80 million, some 3.2 million are jobless, according to official data.

Rouhani's signature achievement, a deal in 2015 with world powers to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting most global sanctions, has yet to bring the broad economic benefits the government says are coming.

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