Monday, 23 July, 2018

New Protests in Tehran Pose Fresh Challenge to Iran's Rulers

Valiollah Seif the governor of the Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif the governor of the Central Bank of Iran
Jodi Jackson | 28 June, 2018, 15:28

The protesters, who were confronted by police with tear gas, surrounded the Iranian parliament Monday with chants of "death to high prices".

The unplanned demonstration came a day after protests forced two major shopping centers for mobile phones and electronics to close in Tehran.

Iran is banning imports of over 1,300 products, preparing its economy to resist threatened USA sanctions, amid rare public protests against the plunge of its currency to record lows.

Now that the United States has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, some sanctions are to be reimposed in August and November.

Analysts believe hard-liners likely encouraged the first protest that took place in Mashhad to weaken the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate cleric within Iranian politics. The semiofficial Fars news agency reported that traders gathered at the Grand Bazaar to protest "against recession", exchange-rate fluctuations, declining demand from Iranian consumers, and rising prices.

Videos posted to social media showed protesters chanting: "Death to Palestine", "No to Gaza, no to Lebanon" and "Leave Syria and think of us".

He was quoted by Iranian media as saying a rate of 42,000 rials per dollar would be set for "importing essential commodities including medicine", and that importers and exporters would "have to agree on the rate for importing non-essential goods".

Other videos appear to show the protestors chanting, "Death to dictator".

"In the coming months we will see much more intervention in the economy by the government, a centrally imposed style of management by dictat", he said.

Tehran's large Bazaar has always been a breeding ground for opposition to governments in Iran's history, most recently in 1978, when it shut down in a protest at the rule of the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Traders from the bazaar, whose merchants supported Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, said most shops remained closed.

Similar economic demonstrations broke out across Iran at the end of 2017 and quickly spread to some 75 cities and towns - growing into Iran's largest protests since unrest over the disputed 2009 presidential election. The protests in late December and early January saw at least 25 people killed and almost 5,000 arrested.

Watch: Iranians stage anti-government protestin central Tehran, June 25, 2018. The protests then spiraled out of control, with people openly criticizing Rouhani and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The ISNA news agency said the protesters were forcing shopkeepers to close their stalls at the market on Monday.

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