Nationwide protests over Iran’s currency crisis and economic problems reached the capital Tehran on Friday, with people gathering in streets and underground stations.

Videos on social media showed gatherings chanting against the regime and the Government.

Protests over low wages, poor working conditions, and environmental issues have been ongoing in the Islamic Republic this year, but they surged in January and again in June. The current escalation began on Tuesday, with demonstrations in cities such as Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, Karaj, Najafabad, Sari, and Bandar Abbas.

Security forces deployed in Tehran and other cities such as Karaj, Shahin-e Khord, Gohardasht. They reportedly used tear gas in Isfahan to prevent people from assembling.

The catalyst for the latest discord is a fall of almost 60% in the value of the Iranian rial against the US dollar, including a drop of more than 30% last weekend. The devaluaton has spurred further price rises, hindered production, and limited imports of essential goods.

Earlier this week the Government announced a restructuring of foreign exchange markets. Meanwhile, officials threatened detentions, with declarations that the “enemy” is sabotaging the Iranian economy.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli insisted that foes were using “200 people” to break Iran.

The Tehran Friday Prayer leader, Hojetoleslam Kazem Seddiqi, warned, “The judiciary will deal with economic criminals without any delusions.”

The cleric blamed poor administration and inattention to Islamic laws for the currency crisis and economic problems: “We must have religious management in the country and follow the instructions of Almighty Allah.”

Football fans in a Tehran underground station after a match on Friday night: