Dispatch: Iranian protesters defy authorities to voice differing demands for change

The Mehr news agency posted videos of protesters attacking a town hall in central Tehran, overturning a police vehicle, and burning the Iranian flag.

"No shots were fired by the police and security forces".

The shootings happened in the western town of Dorud on the third day of protests.

Video shared on social media showed police in Tehran firing water cannons to try to disperse demonstrators in Ferdowsi Square, Reuters reported.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that government bodies must provide "space for criticism", as he sought to head off days of unrest, but warned protesters that violence was unacceptable.

There were reports that mobile devices were unable to access the internet for a period of time Saturday, though coverage was restored later in the day.

Travel restrictions have made it hard to confirm reports about the protests and postings on social media.

"Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behaviour and pay the price", he said. Two protesters were killed in Dorud in the province of Lorestan late Saturday during clashes with security forces, Habibollah Khojastehpour, deputy for political affairs for the province of Lorestan, said in an interview posted on the website of Iran's state broadcaster.

The unrest then spread to Tehran, and quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole.

Iran's economy has improved since its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the end of some global sanctions.

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"The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most", he wrote. But economic growth has not followed, and people are struggling to cope with the high cost of living.

As a counter to the violence, separate state-sponsored rallies took place around the country to mark the end of the unrest that shook the country in 2009. State television reported pro-government rallies were held in some 1,200 cities and towns.

He added: "We are proud that Telegram is used by thousands of massive opposition channels all over the world".

On Saturday, Telegram had suspended the account of one Iranian channel, Amad News, saying it had violated the service's terms of use by calling for violence. "There are lines one shouldn't cross".

As anti-regime demonstrations spread to more than thirty Iranian cities on Sunday, American officials continued to express their support for the biggest grassroots challenge to the ruling mullahs since the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in 2009.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a senior foreign policy advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker, has responded to U.S. President Donald Trump's meddlesome remarks about the recent protests in Iran.

"In the New Year, our hopes and prayers are with the millions of people who are suffering terribly from oppressive governments in North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and especially in Iran, where the long-repressed Iranian people are now finding their voice", Haley declared.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) called on President Trump to lay out his strategy toward Iran as the country faces its largest protests in almost 10 years, saying such a move would help bolster the United States in its conflict with North Korea.

"This is not like anything I have seen before, there are people from everywhere, protesting against everything" said Layla, a young media professional.


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