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Iranian Cities Hit By More Protests Over Economic Woes

An anti government protest in Isfahan, Iran.
An anti government protest in Isfahan, Iran.

One demonstrator was reportedly fatally shot in northern Iran as hundreds of people returned to the streets of several Iranian cities on August 3 for a fourth consecutive day of protests amid growing anxiety over the country's economic difficulties and the return of U.S. sanctions.

Iran's Fars News agency reported on August 4 that a man was killed during a protest in Karaj, about 50 kilometers west of Tehran, when someone fired a gun from a passing car.

The agency also reported that about 20 protesters in Karaj were detained by security forces.

An amateur video sent to RFE/RL, which could not be verified, appeared to show police confronting demonstrators in the city of Karaj.

Iranian media reported that demonstrators attacked a Shi'ite seminary west of the capital, Tehran, on August 3 as protests against economic woes turned into antigovernment rallies.

Iranians are angered by high inflation and increasing economic hardship caused in part by the dramatic decline of the national currency, the rial.

In the town of Eshtehard, 100 kilometers west of Tehran, riot police dispersed several hundred people who chanted slogans against the government late on August 3, with some throwing rocks and bricks at a Shi'ite Muslim seminary, the semiofficial Fars news agency said on August 4.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said on its Persian-language Twitter account on August 3: "While it is ultimately up to the people of Iran to determine their country's path, America supports the voice of the Iranian people, which has been ignored for a long time."

'Death To Khamenei'

Amateur videos sent to RFE/RL appeared to show dozens of protesters in the capital Tehran, with some chanting "Death to Khamenei," in a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Other demonstrators could be heard chanting, "Iranians, shout your demands."

There were reports of a heavy police presence in the center of Tehran and in its northern neighborhoods.

Another amateur video sent to RFE/RL appeared to show police confronting demonstrators in the city of Karaj.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or arrests in Tehran or Karaj.

Protesters have also staged demonstrators in the cities of Mashhad, Isfahan, and Shiraz.

The protests have come as Iranians brace for the return of U.S. sanctions following President Donald Trump's decision in May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Under the deal, Iran received sanctions relief in return for limits to its nuclear program.

On August 7, Washington will reimpose sanctions on Iran's purchase of U.S. dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals, and its dealings with metals, coal, and industrial-related software.

Sanctions will also be reapplied to U.S. imports of Iranian carpets and foodstuffs as well as on certain related financial transactions.

With reporting by Reuters