NewsWorldIran: Soaring staple food prices spark suppressed protests

Iran: Soaring staple food prices spark suppressed protests

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Published on: 05/13/2022 – 13:35 Hundreds of people took to the streets in several cities in Iran to protest against the government’s decision to raise the prices of basic necessities, media reported on Friday of state. The authorities have announced around twenty arrests in the south of the country. Iranian authorities arrested at least 22 demonstrators who were protesting the sudden rise in staple food prices in several cities in southern Iran, state media reported early Friday (May 13).Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had announced on Monday a series of measures to deal with the country’s economic difficulties, including modifying a system of subsidies and increasing the prices of several basic products such as cooking oil. Iranians responded to the rulings – which took effect Friday – by taking to the streets in several cities over the past two days, state news agency IRNA reported. chicken, eggs and milk prices soared 300% as the cost of food soars across the Middle East due to the collapse of the global supply chain and the invasion by Russia from Ukraine, the main exporter of food products. Arrests and disrupted internet The IRNA agency indicated that 15 demonstrators were arrested on Thursday night in the city of Dezful, located in the province of Khuzestan (south-west) , where the largest demonstration took place, bringing together nearly 300 people. Seven other arrests took place in the town of Yasuj, in the southern province of Kohgiluyeh-Boyerahmad. The report also said that 200 people gathered in Andimeshk, another town in Khuzestan, where a firefighter was injured after demonstrators threw stones at police and firefighters. The situation calmed down in all regions on Friday, IRNA added. Just before the protests, UK-based organization NetBlocks, which tracks global internet outages, said internet disruptions had been reported in across the country as the government braced for possible unrest. Footage circulating widely on social media showed several other protests across Khuzestan, some turning violent with protesters burning tires and police firing tear gas to disperse them “We could see on these videos very violent demonstrations, with attacks against the bases of the Islamist militias – the famous bassij -, or even against mosques and public buildings, or even shopping centers which were looted by demonstrators,” said Siavosh Ghazi, France 24 correspondent in Tehran. The authenticity of these videos is being verified. Compensation measures offered to low-income families Earlier this week, the Iranian president announced that his government would reform a system of subsidies put in place by the previous administration in 2018, which covered several commodities. But he had promised that the price of bread, gasoline and medicine would remain unchanged. The Iranian government, fearing the protest movement, had immediately proposed compensation measures. Thus, Ebrahim Raïsi had declared that payments equivalent to approximately 10 or 13 dollars would be paid each month for each member of the family of low-income households. After his announcement, panicked, people had rushed to supermarkets to stock up, according to videos shared on social media and images broadcast by state television. هجوم مردم به فروشگاه ها در پی #گرانی سرسام‌آور #مرغ، تخم مرغ، نان، روغن و لبنیاتفیلمی که در رسانه‌های اجتماعی منتشر شده نشان می‌دهد در پی افزایش قیمت‌ها، فروش این کالاها در برخی فروشگاه‌ها با اختلال مواجه شده و شهروندان برای خرید هجوم آورده‌اند . pic.twitter.com/8oMjzCm8VX—anwarmansor (@anwarmansor15) May 12, 2022 Smuggling and the effect of war in UkraineAlso, Iran imports half of its cooking oil from Ukraine, where fighting has driven many farmers away fields, and nearly half of his wheat from Russia. The smuggling of Iranian bread – a heavily subsidized food – to neighboring countries Iraq and Afghanistan has intensified as hunger spreads in the region. For the Iranian authorities, the compensatory measures announced after the increase prices also aim to prevent this smuggling, particularly of flour and wheat to Afghanistan and Pakistan, or even Turkey, says Siavosh Ghazi. The drought is already ravaging the Iranian economy and Western sanctions concerning the Iranian nuclear program have caused additional difficulties. Inflation has soared to nearly 40%, reaching its highest level since 1994. Youth unemployment also remains high. According to the Iranian statistics center, some 30% of households currently live below the poverty line. Memories of the rise in fuel prices in November 2019 have marked people’s minds. Large-scale demonstrations, the most violent since the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979, then shook the country and were very violently repressed by the police. With AP and AFP

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