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Riot police deployed to Tehran

Oct. 3, 2012 at 12:42 PM

TEHRAN, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Riot police in Iran fired tear gas at protesters expressing frustration following the collapse of the state currency, witnesses said.

Shops in the historic Grand Bazaar in Tehran were shuttered in an apparent show of sympathy with protesters, who said they were frustrated with the collapse of the rial, the BBC reports.

Witnesses told the BBC that protesters chanted anti-regime slogans in front the Central Bank, demanding its governor resign.

Riot police were called in and responded with tear gas to break up the demonstrations.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed economic sanctions imposed by Western governments for the decline in the value of the rial. The rial hit a historic low when compared to the U.S. dollar this week.

A political group aligned with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei governs the Grand Bazaar. The BBC reports that the bazaar likely financed the Islamic Revolution in 1979 that brought clerical leaders to power in Tehran.

The United Nations this week expressed concern over Teheran's crackdown on dissent. One of Ahmadinejad's advisers, who served as the head of the official Islamic Republic News Agency, was arrested for publishing comments deemed offensive by the clerical elite.

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