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Protests And Tension In Iran Continue Sunday Evening

Protests And Tension In Iran Continue Sunday Evening

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Reports and images on social media indicate that anti-government protests took place Sunday night in at least one provincial center in Iran with gunshots heard.

The protest took place in Shahre Kord, the center of Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari province 120 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Esfahan in central Iran. In recent days, Shahre Kord has witnessed nighttime protests against the government.

Saturday night protests had taken place in numerous small towns and cities across the country, triggered by a sudden hike in food prices. But the unrest quickly turned into anti-Islamic Republic protests with people chanting slogans against top government leaders.

Sunday night, people were heard chanting “Death to Raisi”, “Death to Khamenei”, as some gunshots were heard in Shahre Kord. Some reports said that security forces directly fired at demonstrators. So far, five deaths have been reported in more than a week of protests. Security forces also use batons and tear gas against protesters.

In some towns, IRGC Basij centers have been abandoned after citizens attacked and tried to occupy them. In one town the religious schools was also abandoned as it was a target of anti-government protesters.

Many citizens have also been detained by there is no total number reported by reliable sources. Many younger people are among the detainees and some reports speak of security forces arresting whole families if some members were identified during protests.

The government of President Ebrahim Raisi decided to stop an import subsidy for essential food imports, such as wheat, cooking oil and also animal feed. The subsidy had been set up in April 2018 just before former US president Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement and imposed tough economic sanctions.

The government had said subsidizing the food imports was costing $8-10 billion annually but more recent estimates have put the number between $15-20 billion.

As soon as the government confirmed the end of the subsidy food prices jumped two to threefold and certain items such as cooking oil disappeared from supermarkets. The move by the government came at a time when an economic crisis triggered by US sanctions was getting worse, despite official claims of higher oil exports.

Authorities have reacted to the protests by dispatching security forces from the capital Tehran to smaller cities that have been the centers of unrest. They have also cut off mobile internet access in many areas to prevent people from sharing videos and news of the protests. Shahre Kord is no exception with mobile internet disrupted on Sunday.

Reports by citizens in Iran also say that authorities jammed signal of satellite television channels beaming news from outside the country, such as the Voice of America, Iran International TV and other stations.

Iranian government-controlled media is mostly silent about the protests, but Iran International received information on Saturday that censors ordered newspapers and websites to refrain from using certain words like “confrontation” in their reporting. Security forces gathered in some areas of the capital to quickly react to any signs of protests.

Protests were also reported in a town near Shahre Kord on Sunday and there was a video of people burning tires on a highway in the southern parts of Tehran.

Fonte: Iraninternational

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