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Price protests turn political in Iran as rallies spread


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WestVirginiaRebel
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DUBAI (Reuters) - 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.

Police dispersed anti-government demonstrators in the western city of Kermanshah as protests spread to Tehran and several other cities a day after rallies in the northeast, the semi-official news agency Fars said.

The outbreak of unrest reflects growing discontent over rising prices and alleged corruption, as well as concern about the Islamic Republic’s costly involvement in regional conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq.

An official said a few protesters had been arrested in Tehran, and footage posted on social media showed a heavy police presence in the capital and some other cities.

Washington condemned the arrests. “The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

The U.S. State Department in a separate statement urged “all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”

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New year's revolution?

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