IRAN

Hundreds protest across Iran over price hikes

In the city of Kermanshah in western Iran, protesters clash with police firing water cannons. According to Iran’s Fars news agency, 300 protesters gathered in Kermanshah alone on Friday. Friday marked the second day of protests, after breaking out in eastern Iran on Thursday. The protests spread to the west, to the capital Tehran, the north and the south. After starting as a reaction to rising prices, the slogans have taken on a stronger anti-government tone. Some demonstrators think that the expansive role of President Hassan Rouhani's government in regional conflicts, such as in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, has come at the expense of caring for the domestic population and tackling unemployment. Iran’s unemployment stands at 12.4 percent, up from last year. Mass protests without police permission are unusual in Iran. These protests are the largest in the country since 2009.