Iranian Provincial Capital Hit By Second Night Of Protests

Hundreds of protesters returned to the streets of several Iranian cities on August 2, according to state media and social-media posts, amid growing anxiety over the country’s economic difficulties.

Iranians angered by high inflation and increasing economic hardship caused in part by the dramatic decline of the national currency, the rial, have been protesting across the country for the past several days.

The government Iran daily reported that “scattered and unlicensed gatherings” were held in the cities of Mashhad, Karaj, and Shiraz, as well as in a square in the capital, Tehran.

Some of the demonstrations ended “under the direction of police forces,” the newspaper said.

In Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province, the state news agency IRNA reported clashes between protesters and members of the security forces.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or arrests.

An amateur video sent to RFE/RL appears to show dozens of protesters in the city chanting slogans such as, “We don’t want high prices, inflation.”

About 100 people held a similar rally in the western city of Mashhad, calling for action against “economic corruptors,” according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

The report said that a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Yaghoubali Nazari, met the protesters before the rally ended following “police intervention.”

Angry demonstrators reportedly gathered in Isfahan, in central Iran, for a second consecutive day of protest in which demonstrators threw stones at police forces, an amateur video sent to RFE/RL suggests.

The BBC reported that police officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

In Shahin Shahr, to the north of Isfahan, videos circulated on social media show dozens of men and women clapping their hands and calling on others to join them.

Earlier, protesters took to the streets of Karaj, the capital of Alborz Province, for a second consecutive night.

In a video posted on social networks, protesters in the city’s neighborhood of Gohardasht are seen chanting, "Death to the dictator," in an apparent reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Another video apparently shows at least one police motorcycle burning.

The rial has lost more than half its value against the dollar since April. The drop has accelerated since the United States pulled out from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers in May and vowed to reimpose sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the accord.

In the face of growing public discontent, Iranian lawmakers on August 1 gave President Hassan Rohani one month to appear before parliament to answer questions on topics including weak economic growth, rising unemployment, and the decline of the rial.

In a letter to the Rohani, nearly 200 lawmakers called for "maximum shake-up" in the government.

With reporting by IRNA and Fars