Iran arrests no less than 22 protesting sudden worth hikes in meals

Iranian authorities have arrested no less than 22 demonstrators who had been protesting sudden worth hikes of sponsored staple meals in two southern cities, state media reported early Friday.

The arrests observe Iran’s announcement this week that the price of cooking oil, hen, eggs and milk would rise by as a lot as 300 p.c, as meals costs surge throughout the Center East as a consequence of world provide chain snarls and Russia’s invasion of main meals exporter Ukraine.

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The state-run IRNA information company reported that 15 folks have been arrested in a single day within the southwestern metropolis of Dezful in Khuzestan province, in addition to seven others within the metropolis of Yasuj in Kohgiluyeh-Boyerahmad Province within the south.

The report additionally mentioned that 200 folks had gathered in one other metropolis in Khuzestan province — Andimeshk — the place one firefighter was injured after demonstrators threw stones at police and firefighters.

The state of affairs had calmed in all areas by Friday, IRNA added, posting photos of President Ebrahim Raisi assembly customers in Tehran supermarkets to listen to their issues.

Earlier than the demonstrations, advocacy group mentioned that Web disruptions have been reported throughout the nation as the federal government braced for attainable unrest.

Footage broadly circulating on social media confirmed a number of different protests in Khuzestan, with some turning violent with protesters burning tires on the street and police firing tear fuel to disperse them. The Related Press couldn’t instantly confirm the movies’ authenticity.

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Iran imports half of its cooking oil from Ukraine, the place preventing has saved many farmers from the fields, and nearly half of its wheat from Russia. Smuggling of Iran’s extremely sponsored bread into neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan has spiked as starvation spreads throughout the area.

Drought is already ravaging Iran’s economic system, and Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program have triggered extra difficulties. Inflation has soared to almost 40 p.c, its highest stage since 1994. Youth unemployment additionally stays excessive. Some 30 p.c of Iranian households dwell under the poverty line in response to Iran’s Statistics Middle.

Recollections of Iran’s gas worth hike in November 2019 additionally stay contemporary. Then, widespread protests — essentially the most violent because the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979 — rocked the nation.

Learn extra:

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Ukraine disaster jeopardizes Center East’s Black Sea wheat provide

UN chief ‘deeply involved’ about dangers of world starvation as a consequence of battle in Ukraine