Sanctions expert Richard Goldberg assessed that economic protests breaking out across Iran are a sign of Iranian vulnerability to economic pressure, writing, “Decertification is working. It’s time to increase the pressure on Iranian regime in every way possible, not weaken it.”
The protests, Reuters reported Thursday, are driven by Iranians believing that they have not received the economic benefits of the nuclear deal “due to corruption and mismanagement.”
The protests, which have been spurred by high prices, have been reported in Mashad, Iran’s second largest city, as well as in Neyshabour and Kashmar, in the Razavi Khorasan Province.
Protesters, in addition to chanting “Death to Rouhani,” referring to Iran’s current president, also chanted “leave Syria, think about us.” Iran has backed the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad with both military support and billions of dollars worth of economic aid.
Unemployment, according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, has increased by 1.4 percent during the current fiscal year to 12.4 percent. An estimated 3.2 million Iranians, out of a population of 80 million, are out of work.
Mashad’s Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian told Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, that the protests were spurred by “enemies of the Islamic Republic” and “counter-revolutionaries.”
The current protests reflect ongoing dissatisfaction with Iran’s economy reflected in protests by retirees earlier this year.
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