A senior government official has accused the opponents of President Hassan Rouhani's administration of being involved in organizing a recent protest in the city of Mahshad.
Thousands of people gathered in several major junctions in cities in Iran on Thursday to protest against the regime amid soaring unemployment rates, poverty and rising prices.
Mashhad's Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian condemned the protesters for what he referred to as their "illegal" demonstration while praising the police for "showing extreme restraint" and arresting people "who wanted to destroy public property".
Police confronted the "illegal" protest "with tolerance", Norouzian said, adding that the authorities arrested a number of people who meant to destroy public property, without providing details. She said, "The courageous protests erupting in vast parts of Iran today, once again demonstrate that the overthrow of the clerical regime and replacing it with democracy and popular sovereignty is a nationalist and nationwide demand".
Nazar and the semi-official Ilna news agency reported that there were also smaller protests on Thursday in Neyshabour, Kashmar, Yazd and Shahroud.
Demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans in several cities across Iran on Friday, Iranian news agencies and social media reports said, as price protests turned into the largest wave of demonstrations since nationwide pro-reform unrest in 2009. The Revolutionary Guard, a hard-line paramilitary organization, has vast economic interests in the country.
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Videos posted online showed a crowd in Mashhad chanting "death to Rouhani" and "death to the dictator", and police using water cannon to disperse it.
Tehran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country's civil war, Shi'ite militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah group. Protesters also waved banners denouncing Iran's interference in the Arab region, chanting "forget about Syria, think about us". "Those who are behind such events will burn their own fingers", IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying.
Out of a total Iranian population of 80 million, some 3.2 million are jobless, according to official data.
So has inflation, which Iran's Central Bank says has returned to 10 percent.
Rouhani's leading achievement, a 2015 deal with world powers that curbed Iran's disputed nuclear program in return for a lifting of most global sanctions, has yet to bring the broad economic benefits the government says are coming.