This looks very suspicious to me.
In recent days, large number of protesters have been taking to the streets in
the cities of Mashhad, Neyshabur, Kashmar and Birjand in northeast Iran, protesting unemployment, poverty and skyrocketing prices. Protesters were also seen chanting, "Death to Rouhani" and "Death to the Dictator."
Price inflation is soaring and youth unemployment is very high (40%) in Iran and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani submitted his 2018 budget to parliament, which raises departure taxes for those flying out of the country infuriating many.
The kindling sticks are certainly in place to get the kids out in the streets but who struck the match?
The New York Times reports (my emphasis):
Protests over the Iranian government’s handling of the economy spread to several cities on Friday, including Tehran, in what appeared to be a sign of unrest...The Iranian Green Movement, also known as the Persian Awakening, refers to a political movement that arose after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office. The color green was initially used as the symbol of Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign. Right out of Gene Sharp's playbook.
The Trump administration seized on reports of the protests to denounce Iran. “Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,” the State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said in a statement. “As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.” She added that the United States “strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters.”
The protests began on Thursday in Mashhad, a city of two million in the country’s northeast, where hundreds gathered to denounce recent price increases and the moribund state of the economy more generally, according to Iranian news agencies. Some of them shouted “Death to Rouhani.”...
Protests over economic conditions are not uncommon in Iran. They usually take place in front of Parliament in Tehran, and in smaller cities it is not uncommon to see protests by people who have lost their savings in bank failures, or retirees who can’t make ends meet. What seems distinctive about the protests this week is how quickly news about them spread on social media and was in turn picked up by foreign-based satellite channels...
Ali Vaez, the Iran project director for the International Crisis Group, said it was possible that hard-line opponents of Mr. Rouhani were behind the protests in Mashhad, capitalizing on anger about the economic belt-tightening and about rising food and gasoline prices.
“The trigger was apparently a protest that the government’s hard-line opponents organized in Mashhad, which got out of control and turned into an anti-regime rally and is now spreading across the country,” he said.
He noted that Saturday is the eighth anniversary of the nationwide demonstrations that helped crush the 2009 pro-democracy Green Movement.
The shady International Crisis Group mentioned above is also providing "field research" advice in Ukraine and Libya.
And then, we have the President chiming in:
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
The year 2018 is going to be very interesting.