by Niki Dashtban
Social unrest erupts in Iran as the country’s economic state plummets, a result of facing years of severe U.S.-led sanctions. At the same time, negotiations for a second nuclear deal in Vienna have paused between Iran and the world powers. Despite concerning different topics, these two events are very related.
After the collapse of the nuclear accord four years ago, the U.S imposed harsh sanctions to pressure the Iranian government. These sanctions placed the Iranian people in severe economic conditions. In 2019, many Iranian people rioted against the government in response to the rising prices of goods. The government’s responded brutally to the protesters, killing over 1,500 people. With this massacre, the protests were shut down, however, the Iranian people’s anger over the situation remained strong.
Today, these prices have skyrocketed. Iran has a history of facing high inflation rates and has been able to keep the prices somewhat low through subsidies. In recent weeks, however, Iran could no longer afford subsidies and the Iranian people are facing a brutal inflation rate of 40 percent and massive unemployment. The price for flour is now ten times more expensive than it was a few weeks ago and other foods are more than doubling in price. The rising food prices served as a motivation for the Iranian people to protest, but their protests are directed at the Iranian regime.
The social unrest in Iran is a result of many factors including the rising inflation rate. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a history of causing turmoil for the Iranian citizens. Since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979 after the fall of the Shah, the government has demonstrated extremely limited tolerance for religious, social, and political liberties. The Islamic government has wrongfully incarcerated citizens for voicing their discontent with the government and has even gone as far as killing Iranian citizens for protesting and expressing their freedoms. Over the last few years, many Iranian cities have been victims of air pollution, water shortages, and economic struggles—a result of the government’s inaction to provide for Iranian citizens and the sanctions placed on the country.
On January 8th, 2020, a passenger jet, PS752, was brought down by two missiles after taking off from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board died in the crash, victims from seven different countries. The Iranian authorities initially stated that the crash was caused by a technical failure in the jet. Days later, the Iranian government admitted that the PS752 flight was mistakenly shot down by their military. It has been over two years since the PS752 tragedy and still, the Islamic Republic has not answered for its actions.
On May 23rd, the Metropol Building in Abadan collapsed, killing 37 people. The Islamic government chose to not rescue the people who were impacted by the collapse. Authorities acknowledged that the building’s owner and government officials allowed the building construction to continue despite knowing about its unsafe structure.
Experiencing tragedy after tragedy, the Iranian citizens have grown tired of and angry at the Islamic Republic of Iran. Amid the Metropol Building collapse and the extreme rising in food prices, Iranian people have been continuously protesting the Islamic Republic of Iran, challenging the government during the pressuring time of trying to secure a nuclear deal with world powers. The government has been meeting the citizens’ protests with violent actions, trying to shut down protests. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been trying its best to silence the Iranian people, but the Iranian people want justice and will no longer be silenced.
If you would like to learn more about the political unrest in Iran and the chances of making a nuclear deal, you may be interested in attending the Iranian Puzzle program on July 12th at 7 PM at the Glades Cultural Center. Renowned Iran scholar, Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, will discuss more about Iran’s foreign policy and the regime’s willingness to make a nuclear deal. Click here for more information about the program and to buy tickets.
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