Anti-government protests broke out across Iran, including in Mashhad, the second largest city, and one of the holiest places in Shia Islam. The protesters clashed with state security forces over the soaring cost of living, Iran Focus reported. Mashad governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying that “the demonstration was illegal, but the police dealt with people with tolerance”. Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators in Mashad in northwest Iran, one of the holiest places in Shia Islam, chanting “death to (President Hassan) Rouhani” and “death to the dictator”. Norouzian was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA that the protests were organized by “enemies of the Islamic Republic” and “counter-revolutionaries”, Reuters reported. HTjxK5ECwAw According to HuffPost, the latest protests were also reportedly an extension of incidents that had taken place earlier in the week, starting in the city of Isfahan after the announcement that 27,000 workers had been fired due to the recent bankruptcies of a number of firms. Such developments contribute to an economic situation that is dire for much of the Iranian population, in spite of the fact that the 2015 nuclear agreement with six world powers has returned large quantities of frozen assets to the Islamic Republic, as well as bringing new business to a variety of government-linked firms.