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Iranian Cities Hit By Protests For Fifth Day As First Death Reported


A screen grab from an amateur video that appears to show protests in Shiraz on August 2 as unrest spreads across Iran amid a deepening economic crisis in the country.

Demonstrations ignited by anger over economic hardships continued for the fifth day in northern Iran on August 4, a day after media reported on the first protester death and an attack on a Shi’ite seminary.

Videos posted on social media purported to show rallies in the capital, Tehran, and in the cities of Karaj, Shiraz, Mashhad, Isfahan, and Qom, 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.

Protesters expressed anger over high inflation and increasing economic hardship caused in part by the dramatic decline of the national currency, the rial, which has been hit by U.S. plans to reimpose sanctions on August 7 on Iran's purchase of U.S. dollars.

Antigovernment Protests Continue In Iran
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Sanctions will also target Iran's trade in gold and precious metals, and its dealings with metals, coal, and industrial-related software.

On August 4, Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reported that a man had been killed the night before 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.

'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.

'Death To The Dictator': Protests Spread To Several Iranian Cities
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Iranian media on August 4 reported that demonstrators attacked a Shi'ite seminary west of Tehran late the night before.

The attack occurred in Eshtehard, 100 kilometers west of Tehran, where riot police dispersed several hundred people who chanted slogans against the government, with some throwing rocks and bricks at a Shi'ite Muslim seminary, Fars reported.

The Tasnim news agency reported that dozens of clerics in training were forced to flee the protesters.

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."

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran received some sanctions relief in return for limits to its nuclear program.

Trump in May withdrew his country from the landmark deal and said he would reimpose sanctions against Iran. Trump complained that Tehran was violating the "spirit" of the deal by continuing to test ballistic missiles and by financing extremist violence in the region.

Iran has said its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes and it denies aiding militants in the Middle East.

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

With reporting by Reuters and The New York Times