Protests in Iran as Rouhani says US wants 'economic war'


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Angry protesters in Iran's capital had a third day of demonstrations today over the country's anemic economy as President Hassan Rouhani told the nation it faces an "economic war" with the United States after America's pullout from the nuclear deal.

While online videos showed demonstrators again confronting police on Tehran's streets and alleyways, the protests looked far smaller than those on Monday, when security forces fired tear gas on crowds in front of parliament.

Earlier on Monday, demonstrators forced the temporary closure of Tehran's Grand Bazaar and on Sunday, protests forced two major shopping centers for mobile phones and electronics to close in Tehran.

Rage persists over the plunging of the Iranian rial to 90,000 to the dollar – double the government rate of 42,000 rials to $1 – as people watch their savings dwindle and shopkeepers hold onto some goods, uncertain of their true value.

Part of the economic uncertainty comes from President Donald Trump's decision to pull America out of the nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions on Iran, even though other world powers have pledged to stand by the accord.

Similar economic protests roiled Iran and spread to some 75 cities and towns at the end of last year, becoming the largest demonstrations in the country since the months-long rallies following the 2009 disputed presidential election.

The protests in late December and early January saw at least 25 people killed and nearly 5,000 arrested, but took place largely in Iran's provinces rather than in the capital, Tehran.

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