Friday, December 29, 2017

Protests erupt in Iran over high cost of living

iran protests
Hundreds of protesters have rallied in several Iranian cities against rising prices, unemployment and economic inequality, according to anti-government activists and Iran's semi-state news agency Fars.

About 300 people protested in Kermanshah, a city in western Iran, on Friday, according to Fars.

Police intervened after protesters damaged public property, the news agency reported.

The protest came after an earlier demonstration in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, on Thursday drew "thousands" of residents, anti-government activists said on social media.

Rallies were also held in a handful of other cities to decry rising food prices and other economic issues.

The prices of several staples, including eggs, have risen by up to 40 percent in recent days, the Associated Press news agency said.

Eshaq Jahangiri, Iran's first vice president, acknowledged that "there is an increase in the prices of some products", but said "the government is working on fixing the causes of the high prices".

Jahangiri also cast doubt on whether the protests were solely motivated by economic issues.

"The people behind what is taking place think they will be able to harm the government, but when social movements and protests start in the street, those who have ignited them are not always able to control them," he said.

  • High unemployment

In August, the Iranian Central Bank said inflation had reached 10 percent, the Tehran Times newspaper reported at the time.

The unemployment rate reached a three-year high of 12.7 percent last year, according to the World Bank.

Adnan Tabatabai, a political analyst and co-founder of the Germany-based Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient, wrote on Twitter that the protests "are driven by socioeconomic grievances, not political aspiration".

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