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Nine more dead as violent Iran protests continue over price of food

03 January 2018

An Iranian lawmaker says two more protesters have been killed and others wounded during a demonstration in the southwest amid nationwide protests over the government's handling of the economy.

Video posted on social media showed crowds of people walking through the streets, some chanting "Death to the dictator!"

In an apparent attempt to stave off more unrest, the authorities began blocking access to photo sharing and online messaging services on mobile phones, including Telegram, which the government accused of being used to foment violence, local media and Telegram's CEO said.

Demonstrations against rising prices and corruption began Thursday in the city of Mashhad, then spread to other cities, and Iranian state TV reported Monday that more than 200 people had been arrested and an unspecified number injured.

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At least five people were killed Monday in protests in Isfahan province, according to Iran's state-run Asriran news agency.

A protester shot and killed an Iranian policeman on Monday, marking the first death among the security forces amid ongoing anti-government demonstrations, according to the police and media reports.

The report said the man's death was proof that some of the demonstrators are armed.

Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested hundreds of demonstrators in recent days. The intelligence ministry said "rioters and agitators of public-unrest" had been arrested, ISNA news agency reported.

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He criticized the Iranian regime's response to the protests and also chided European governments for watching "in silence" as the protests turn violent. Many Iranians resent those foreign interventions, and want their leaders to create jobs at home, where youth unemployment reached 28.8% past year.

Iran is a major OPEC oil producer and regional power deeply involved in Syria and Iraq as part of a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia.

"I do not know whether yesterday's shooting was done by rally participants or the police and this issue is being investigated", Khademi was quoted by ILNA as saying. 'They are hungry for food & for freedom.

"But choosing years of austerity immediately after a very tough period of sanctions is bound to test people's patience", he told AFP. Rouhani said Iran's enemies sought to incite Iranians to protest and had been outspoken in their desire to take revenge on Tehran for signing the 2015 nuclear agreement and its involvement in the Syrian conflict, in which Iran has backed forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. "Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators can not communicate".

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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the "brave Iranians" taking to streets to protest a regime that "wastes tens of billions of dollars spreading hate".

Nine more dead as violent Iran protests continue over price of food