‘Death to Palestine’ chants erupt at Iranian economic protests

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Tehran police deployed tear gas against the protesters, but crowds are gathering around the parliament building.

The unplanned demonstrations come a day after Tehran's two major shopping malls dedicated to mobiles and electronics shut down in protest over alleged rent-seeking by official importers, and refused to sell their products using the government's reduced rial rate of IRR42,000 to the dollar.

The economic trouble also comes as worldwide firms have pulled away from Iran after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who has been tracking the ongoing protests, told the Free Beacon tensions are coming to a head between Iranian citizens and the hardline ruling regime. 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.

Video clips verified by VOA Persian and sent by Tehran residents showed hundreds of striking shopkeepers and other protesters marching through the streets of central Tehran near the bazaar and chanting anti-government slogans.

As the crowd filed through the streets of the capital calling on others to join them, the size of the demonstration swelled into the thousands.

Before opening a closed-door session on price rises, Jahangiri stated that the USA is looking to pressure Iran back to the negotiating table through economic pressure.

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"The current situation, particularly on the economic level, requires more coordination among parties", state news agencies quoted parliament Speaker Ali Larijani as saying.

"In the coming months we will see much more intervention in the economy by the government, a centrally imposed style of management by dictat", he said.

State media in Iran didn't immediately report the Grand Bazaar demonstration.

As the economy in Iran deteriorates, demonstrators in Tehran protested the regime's financial support for terror proxies in the region at the expense of domestic economic needs.

The rial exchange rate was 65,000 to the dollar just before to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, and 43,000 at the end of a year ago.

The dollar's surging black market value also has led the Iranian central bank to ration its supply of the US currency to Iranians, Shojai said.

Violence at those demonstrations, which continued into early January, left 25 dead and almost 5,000 people detained by authorities.

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