Tehran protests: why are Iranians angry?
Thousands demonstrate in capital after seeing their savings dwindle
Iranians have taken to the streets of Tehran this week in the biggest protests seen in the capital since 2012.
Thousands marched towards the gates of the Iranian parliament on Monday, forcing many traders to shut up shop. Police retaliated with tear gas, dispersing the crowds, but the protests continued yesterday and are spreading to other cities.
So why are Iranians so angry?
Donald Trump’s announcement last month that the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has triggered a sharp decline in the value of the Iranian rial, which in turn has seen import costs skyrocket.
There were about 65,000 rials to $1 on Iran’s unofficial currency exchange market prior to Trump’s decision, compared with 90,000 rials as of Monday.
“People in the Middle Eastern nation have watched their savings dwindle,” says Sky News.
There are also fears that the threatened return to US sanctions will cut Iran’s earnings from oil experts, further damaging the already declining economy.
“We are all angry with the economic situation. We cannot continue our businesses like this,” a merchant in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar told Reuters.
President Hassan Rouhani insists his government will be able to withstand the rapid currency drop and any new US sanctions. The Iranian leader spoke out after the Central Bank of Iran announced that it will create a secondary market for foreign exchange to help get around a dollar shortage.
Yesterday Rouhani declared: “We are fighting against the United States, it wants to make an economic war. The US cannot defeat our nation; our enemies are not able to force us to their knees.”
But such reassurances have done little to calm many Iranians’ fears.