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Iran Protest

Economic protests have gone on for days in Iran

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Thousands marching in cities across Iran are protesting a weak economy, corruption, and a lack of personal freedoms.

Officials warned against "illegal gatherings" in response to the protests, which began Thursday in Mashhad and have gone on for days, spreading to the capital of Tehran and other cities across the country.

At least 50 arrests have been reported, and police fired tear gas at crowds. The government cited a lack of necessary permits as the reason for arrests in the capital.

Iran Protest
A student attends a protest at Tehran University while a smoke grenade is thrown by anti-riot Iranian police.

President Hassan Rouhani was re-elected in May on promises of jump-starting an economy hurt in part by US sanctions. Now, amid rising food and gasoline prices, demonstrators are criticizing the government for not following through on its pledge.

Meanwhile on Saturday, pro-government rallies planned weeks ago have taken on a new significance, countering the protesters angered over a weak economy. A few thousand people gathered in Tehran in support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment.

Iran Protests
As spontaneous economic protests swept across Iran, pre-planned rallies in favor of the country's supreme leader and clerically overseen government also took place in Tehran.

Semi-state-run media outlets in Iran covered the pro-government demonstrations, while leaving the economic protests largely underreported.

President Donald Trump tweeted in favor of the economic protests, prompting Iranian state media to denounce Trump's "hypocritical support."

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According to the Associated Press, the demonstrations are the country's largest since those following Iran's 2009 election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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