Women demonstrate unprecedented courage in Mashhad protest

A number of protestors had been arrested for "trying to damage public property", he added.

Reformist member of Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted his support for the people: "The people's protests in Mashhad and other cities are in fact an outcry against the confusion and shortcomings that exist in the top layers of the country".

The protests in Kermanshah, the main city in a region where an quake 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.

Slogans have been chanted against not just Mr Rouhani but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and clerical rule in general.

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 a lot of them left after a police warning but a few made a decision to stay on.

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. Iranians based out of Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Fars and Isfahan provinces tweeted more than 11,000 times since the protests began on December 27.

Nazar and the semi-official Ilna news agency reported that there were also smaller protests on Thursday in Neyshabour, Kashmar, Yazd and Shahroud.

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"Greetings to the heroic citizens of Kermanshah, who rose up with the slogan of either death or freedom, death to Rouhani, death for the dictator, protesting against high prices, poverty and corruption", Iranian opposition leader Mariam Rajavi said in a tweet.

Some social media videos showed demonstrators chanting "Death to Rouhani" and "Death to the dictator".

In social media footage, which could not be authenticated, riot police were seen using water cannon and tear gas to disperse crowds. At least 100 protesters were arrested in Mashhad.

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, suggested that hardline conservative opponents of the pragmatist president might have triggered the protests but lost control of them.

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

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 worldwide sanctions, would boost economic growth.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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