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Protesters swarm Tehran's Grand Bazaar

Atta Kenare, AFP | Shops closed in the ancient Grand Bazaar in Tehran on June 25, 2018.

Protesters in the Iranian capital reportedly swarmed its historic Grand Bazaar on Monday and forced shopkeepers to close their stalls, apparently angry over the Islamic Republic's troubled economy.

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The unplanned demonstration came a day after protests forced two major shopping centers for mobile phones and electronics to close in Tehran.

It wasn't immediately clear who was leading the protests. Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency described the protests as erupting after the Iranian rial dropped to 90,000 to the dollar on the country's black market, despite government attempts to control the currency rate.

Iranian protesters gather at Mobile market in Tehran on June 25, 2018. Atta Kenare, AFP

Videos posted to social media showed protesters at the bazaar heckling shopkeepers who refused to close, shouting in Farsi: "Coward!"

Iran's latest economic troubles come against the backdrop of international firms pulling away from the country after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

At the end of last year, similar economic protests roiled Iran and spread to some 75 cities and towns, becoming the largest demonstrations in the country since its 2009 disputed presidential election. The protests in late December and early January saw at least 25 people killed and nearly 5,000 people arrested by authorities.

(AP)

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