Iran’s protests: All you need to know in 600 words

26
148
Iran’s protests: All you need to know in 600 words

Protests erupted across Iran in recent days after an abrupt decision by authorities to hike petrol prices as part of efforts to blunt the effects of crippling US sanctions on the country’s economy.

The move, announced at midnight on November 15, saw the rollout of a rationing scheme and slashing of subsidies, sending prices soaring by at least 50 percent.

More:

The changes are aimed at raising funds for cash handouts to Iran’s poorest citizens, but many Iranians already grappling with rising inflation were quick to protest against the new policy.

To bring you up to date, here is what you need to know.

What was decided?

The plan was agreed by the Supreme Council of Economic Coordination, which is made up of President Hassan Rouhani, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.

The body decided that vehicles for private use would be restricted to 60 litres (16gal) of fuel monthly, while the price of petrol would jump 50 percent to 15,000 Iranian rials ($0.13 at open market rates) per litre. Any fuel purchases in excess of allotted rations will incur an additional charge of 30,000 rials ($0.26) per litre.

Despite the move, petrol remains cheaper in Iran – home to the world’s fourth-largest crude oil reserves – than almost anywhere else in the world. But while a price hike was somewhat expected, many on social media pointed out that average incomes are too low to comfortably absorb the steep hike.

What was the reaction?

The snap move sparked demonstrations in cities and towns across Iran, with drivers abandoning vehicles on highways and protesters blocking roads.

An estimated 87,000 people took part in the protests, according to security officials quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Dozens of banks and stores were set on fire or damaged in violence surrounding the protests and about 1,000 arrests were made. At least two people, including one police officer, were killed.

What’s the background?

Though ostensibly driven by the price hike, the unrest seems to also be driven by widespread dismay over the ailing state of Iran’s economy, in which jobs are increasingly scarce and savings are evaporating amid inflation of more than 40 percent.

Following US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to unilaterally exit a landmark 2015 nuclear accord brokered between Iran and several other world powers – a deal which saw Tehran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief – Washington has imposed a punishing array of financial measures on the country.

According to the IMF, Iran’s economy is already in “severe distress” and set to contract by 9.5 percent this year as it struggles under the weight of the sanctions.

The downturn has also seen Iran’s currency – the rial – plunge to record lows against the dollar.

What has the official response been?

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed the move, saying it was based on expert opinion and should be supported.

Khamenei also labelled protesters taking violent action as “thugs” and accused counter-revolutionaries and foreign enemies of fuelling the unrest. He ordered security forces to “implement their tasks”.

For his part, Rouhani said families would start receiving financial assistance on Monday from the funds raised by the move, also warning that “anarchy and rioting” will not be tolerated.

Internet access has meanwhile been largely cut off across Iran in a bid to smother the protests, with monitoring service NetBlocks saying on Sunday there was a “near-total shutdown” in the country.

Update: It has now been 24 hours since #Iran implemented a near-total internet shutdown following hours of partial blackouts amid widespread protests.

The ongoing disruption constitutes a severe violation of the basic rights and liberties of Iranians⏱

📰 https://t.co/1Al0DT8an1 pic.twitter.com/i7sudrB3I4

— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) November 17, 2019

In recent years, protests against the state of the economy have been met with a heavy-handed reaction by security forces.

26 COMMENTS

  1. I simply want to say I’m very new to blogging and site-building and definitely enjoyed this web site. More than likely I’m likely to bookmark your site . You certainly have remarkable writings. Regards for sharing your blog site.

  2. I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I definitely enjoy reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the information coming. I loved it!

  3. I have recently started a web site, the info you provide on this website has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. “Show me the man who keeps his house in hand, He’s fit for public authority.” by Sophocles.

  4. F*ckin’ remarkable issues here. I am very glad to look your article. Thank you so much and i’m taking a look forward to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  5. I not to mention my buddies have been digesting the excellent suggestions found on your website while instantly came up with a terrible feeling I never thanked you for those tips. All of the people are actually consequently excited to see all of them and now have really been tapping into them. Thank you for really being considerably accommodating and then for making a choice on this sort of brilliant themes millions of individuals are really eager to be informed on. Our honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

  6. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  7. Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means appear to get one thing done.

  8. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  9. Everything is very open with a very clear description of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful. Many thanks for sharing!

  10. I like this post, enjoyed this one appreciate it for posting. “No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.” by Agnes de Mille.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here