Hundreds have rallied in cities across the country, including Tehran, Isfahan and Karaj to protest against high inflation caused in part by a plunging rial over fears of the re-imposition of crippling sanctions on August 7 2018.
In May, the United States pulled out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Washington decided to re-impose sanctions on Iran upon its withdrawal, accusing it of posing a security threat, and has told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from November 4 or face US financial measures.
The protests have often begun with slogans against the high cost of living and alleged financial corruption but quickly turned into anti-government rallies.
In the town of Eshtehard, 100 km (63 miles) west of Tehran, riot police intervened late on Friday to disperse about 500 people who chanted slogans against the government, with some throwing rocks and bricks at a Shi’ite Muslim seminary.
In Tehran, street demonstrators chanted “Death to the dictator.”
In Washington, the US State Department said on its Persian-language Twitter account: “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.”
On August 7, Washington will re-impose sanctions on Iran’s purchase of US Dollars; its trade in gold and precious metals as well as its dealings with coal and industrial-related software.
Sanctions will also be reapplied to US imports of Iranian carpets and foodstuffs and on certain related financial transactions.
Iran’s oil exports could fall by as much as two-thirds by the end of the year because of the US sanctions, putting oil markets under huge strain amid supply outages elsewhere in the world.