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

28 June, 2018, 15:28 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Iran economic protests shut Tehran's Grand Bazaar

Protesters gathered in the streets, in shopping malls and outside the parliament building where they clashed with security forces.

Among the slogans chanted at economic protests in Tehran on Monday were "death to Palestine", "we don't want the ayatollahs", and "no to Gaza, no to Lebanon", reported Times of Israel.

Iran's latest economic troubles come against the backdrop of worldwide firms pulling away from the country after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri urged parliament to discuss the country's worsening economic conditions and defend President Hassan Rouhani's government, accusing the United States administration of "conspiring" against his country by launching an "economic war".

Video footage of the unfolding demonstration obtained by RFE/RL showed hundreds of angry demonstrators marching in and around the Grand Bazaar, forcing shopkeepers to close their stalls.

"The current situation, particularly on the economic level, requires more coordination among parties", state news agencies quoted parliament Speaker Ali Larijani as saying.

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

The protesters are chanting "death to Syria'" and "our enemy is here - not the U.S." as they demand the government focus on improving the economy.

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.

At the end of a year ago, similar economic protests roiled Iran and spread to about 75 cities and towns, becoming the largest demonstrations in the country since its 009 disputed presidential election.

"Shopkeepers in Great Bazaar of Tehran, the heart of Iran's economy, have gone on strike, closing their shops in protest at the ongoing economic crisis", Reza Khaasteh tweeted from Tehran.

Mr Rouhani's government has struggled with the economic problems, which have seen high unemployment.

The dollar's surging black market value also has led the Iranian central bank to ration its supply of the USA currency to Iranians, Shojai said.

The protest coincided with the Iranian rial weakening to a record low of 90,000 to the dollar on the black market in recent days.

Meanwhile, some hard-liners have called for new elections or for Mr Rouhani's civilian government to be replaced by a military-led one. The Fars news agency, which is believed to be close to Iran's hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, made a point Monday of publishing an article from the daily newspaper Sobh-e No describing the government as being ready to "bow down to foreign threats and sit at the negotiation table".

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