Iran Daily: 1000s March in Tehran Over Currency Collapse and Economic Situation

Thousands marched in Iran’s capital Tehran on Monday to protest a currency collapse and economic problems, in the largest show of discontent since nationwide demonstrations in January.

Protests began on Sunday in cellphone markets, over the spiralling cost of handsets. Yesterday, as the Iranian Rial plummeted 20% in two days to reach a new all-time low of 90,000:1 v. the US dollar, the demonstrations spread to the Tehran Bazaar with store owners closing shops and protesters chiding merchants who remained open.

See Iran Daily, June 25: Protests in Tehran Amid Currency Collapse

The march then took to the streets, hoping to reach the Parliament building. More people joined as protesters chanted, “Don’t fear, don’t fear, we are all together.” Other chants targeted Iran’s military intervention to prop up the Assad regime, “Leave Syria alone, think of our own”, and praised the Pahlavi monarchy, which ruled Iran until the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Police finally fired tear gas to disperse the demonstration.

The Rouhani Government tried to ease the situation by announcing an alternative exchange market so importers could get access to less expensive foreign currency, with those bringing in medicines and other essential goods given preference.

The step brought the Rial, which has lost half its values since January, to about 86,000:1 v. the US dollar. However, there was confusion over how many alternative rates would be established and who would be given the preferential deals.

The head of the Tehran Bazaar, even as he insisted that calm had been restored, said, “We have repeatedly warned the government that it should strengthen its economic team but now we have come to a conclusion that this team must change.”

A more ominous warning came from the Supreme Leader’s military advisor, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, “Sometimes it seems that the country is better managed if there was no Government”.

Safavi, a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said Iran has “a problem with state-building”: “People go to the departments, organizations and municipalities, and their problems are not being resolved…partly due to the ineffectiveness of the authorities.”

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

10 COMMENTS

    • Except that a military style will not likely last very long because it’ll have to only rely on bullets, there is no basis for people complying with it. For the last 40 years people have been waiting for the missing mahdi. What is a military ideology to promise people, a new and faster rocket?

  1. Another Iranian protest, another week of speculation on whether it’s the beginning of the end of the Iranian regime. Hold your horses, everyone.

  2. “Leave Syria alone, think of our own”, and praised Reza Pahlavi, the son of the Shah who was toppled by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    Er…no. If they were chanting, it was for the late Shah’s father, Reza Pahlavi (1921-1941), not his son.

    • Actually, the Pahlavi monarchy — Reza Pahlavi, his son the late Shah, and the Shah’s son Reza Pahlavi.

  3. US tells allies to halt Iran oil imports by November: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44621127

    A State Department official said on Tuesday that the sanctions were one of the administration’s “top national security priorities”. The predisposition would be no, we’re not granting waivers”, the official said.

    Iran exports to US allies like the EU, India, Japan and South Korea. Refiners in South Korea are trying to ditch their imports of Iranian condensate before November: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-21/u-s-sanctions-on-iran-crude-stir-up-a-corner-of-the-oil-market

    • Iran can still sell to the likes of Azerbaijan, Lebanon and central Asia, but there is no shortage of oil in the world Japan could buy oil from KSA, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Norway, Roumania ect.

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