Saturday, December 30, 2017

Iranian Ire

Too soon to make a judgement and it is difficult to determine the accuracy of the West's reporting but it does look promising for 2018 in Iran.
Anti-government demonstrations that began in Iran on Thursday have now spread to several major cities. Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics. The protests began against rising prices but have spiralled into a general outcry against clerical rule and government policies.
Slogans have been chanted against not just Mr Rouhani but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and clerical rule in general. Demonstrators were reportedly heard yelling slogans like "The people are begging, the clerics act like God".. There is also anger at Iran's interventions abroad. In Mashhad, some chanted "not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran", a reference to what protesters say is the administration's focus on foreign rather than domestic issues. Other demonstrators chanted "leave Syria, think about us."  They shouted “Political prisoners should be freed” and “Freedom or death”
The unemployment rate is 12.4%. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million.  A BBC Persian investigation has found that Iranians, on average, have become 15% poorer in the past 10 years alone. Egg prices in Iran had doubled since last week, due to the government's culling of millions of chickens diagnosed with avian flu, A resident in the central city of Isfahan said protesters had joined a rally held by factory workers demanding back wages. 
 There is anger over lost investments initiated in the era of past President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mashhad is a city hit hard by the closure of Mizan, one of three banks brought down by toxic construction-related debts.  The closure of Mizan, which had about one million accounts, prompted several protests back in 2015. Current President Hassan Rouhani was urged again on Wednesday by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to make good on solving the problem.

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