Published: Thu, June 28, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Iranian protesters confront police in Tehran

Iranian protesters confront police in Tehran

Monday's protests come just days after two of Tehran's largest shopping centres were forced to close due to economic protests.

Thousands of Iranians returned to the streets of Tehran on Monday in response to the significant devaluation of the country's currency, the rial, which is disrupting business by driving up the cost of imports.

It also signaled widespread unease beneath the surface in Iran in the wake of US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran Freedom, a popular Twitter account dedicated to bringing freedom and democracy to Iran, wrote that the protesters asked security forces to join the protests instead of breaking them up. Iran's government set an official, fixed exchange rate of 42,000 rials to the dollar earlier this year and banned trading at other rates to try to stop the rial's decline, but black market activity has continued.

Video posted to social media showed protesters chanting "Let go of Syria, think of us", a reference to the Iranian military presence in Syria in support of President Bashar Al Assad.

"In the coming months we will see much more intervention in the economy by the government, a centrally imposed style of management by dictat", he said.

Shopkeepers at Tehran's Grand Bazaar shut their doors, June 25, 2018, to protest Iran's worsening economic conditions. Chants against that practice have been heard in frequent, small-scale anti-government protests across Iran since December, mostly outside Tehran.

State media in Iran did not immediately report the Grand Bazaar demonstration.

At the end of previous year, similar economic protests roiled Iran and spread to some 75 cities and towns, becoming the largest demonstrations in the country since its Y 2009 disputed presidential election.

Violence at those demonstrations, which continued into early January, left 25 dead and almost 5,000 people detained by authorities.

It was the biggest protest in Tehran since 2012, when global sanctions related to Iran's nuclear activities were crippling its economy.

The protests then spiraled out of control, with people openly criticizing both President Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Rouhani's government has struggled with the economic problems, including high unemployment. It sank as low as 90,000 against the dollar in the unofficial market on Monday from 87,000 on Sunday and around 75,500 last Thursday, according to foreign exchange website

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