One of the major centers of protest was in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah where in addition to high prices and unemployment, people have recently suffered a devastating quake. Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics.
Mashhad's Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian condemned the protesters for what he referred to as their "illegal" demonstration while praising the police for "showing extreme restraint" and arresting people "who wanted to destroy public property".
The protests were mostly directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's government, the Nazar media network reported.
Police arrested 52 people in Thursday's protests, Fars quoted a judicial official as saying in Mashhad, one of the holiest places in Shi'ite Islam.
What began as a protest against economic conditions and corruption has turned political.
Videos posted online showed a crowd in Mashhad chanting "death to Rouhani" and "death to the dictator", and police using water cannon to disperse it. "But towards the end, baton-wielding police attacked the crowd from both sides of the street and arrested some people".
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The security forces charged at the people but the people resisted and confronted them. The last unrest of national significance occurred in 2009 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election as president ignited eight months of street protests.
A clip circulating on unofficial Telegram channels purportedly from Nishapur, close to Mashhad, showed protesters chanting "leave Syria alone, think about us".
Jahangiri also warned that such moves will have consequences for the initiators, saying the initiators of the political protests will not be able to control the situation when these movements grow larger. "They think they will hurt the government by doing so".
Rouhani's government has faced criticism since his May re-election from both hardline opponents and disillusioned supporters, who had been expecting a broader economic recovery following the country's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and easing of global sanctions.
Several provinces this week reported the price of eggs had risen by up to 50 percent, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.
Out of the 80-million population, some 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, equating to an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Center of Iran.