Rising prices and food shortages have triggered widespread protests in Iran, with video footage showing demonstrators chanting “death” to the country’s ruling duo — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi. “Protests over soaring food prices continued in several cities in Iran on Saturday, according to postings on social media,” the UK newspaper Guardian noted.
The oil-rich Shia Islamic regime, which has closely allied itself with Russia since the beginning of the Ukraine invasion, appears to be suffering the fallout from the raging conflict. The TV channel France24 noted that “in recent days, [the Iranian] people have been struggling to obtain basic necessities. Lines have stretched outside of food stores where some people have been seen fighting over cooking oil. Others have turned to looting.”
While ordinary Iranians face hardships, the regime is busy investing billions expanding its nuclear weapons program and financing terrorists groups abroad. In April, the Mullah regime signed up to join the emerging anti-U.S. military alliance led by China, and conducted war games with Chinese and Russian navies in the Indian Ocean two months ago.
The Associated Press reported the latest Iranian protests:
An Iranian lawmaker says one person was killed in his city during recent unrest over price increases in the southwestern Khuzestan province, semi-official ILNA news agency reported Saturday.
Ahmad Avaei, a member of parliament from Dezful did not give the name or gender of the person killed, or say how many people were arrested during the unrest.
State media reported Friday that Iranian authorities had arrested at least 22 demonstrators who had been protesting sudden price hikes of subsidized staple foods, 15 of them in Dezful. A firefighter was injured in clashes with demonstrators in a nearby city, Andimeshk.
The unrests follow Iran’s announcement earlier in the week that the cost of cooking oil, chicken, eggs and milk would rise by as much as 300%, as food prices surge across the Middle East due to global supply chain snarls and Russia’s invasion of major food exporter Ukraine.
Protests in Iran, set off by economic turmoil, often turn into anti-regime unrest. In November 2019, protests which began over fuel price hike ignited a nationwide movement against the Mullah rule. The regime quelled those protests by murdering more than a thousand demonstrators. The Islamic Guard (IRGC) and other pro-regime militia used snipers, machine guns, and helicopter gunships to mow down hundred of unarmed demonstrators, independent investigations showed.
Biden’s Nuke Deal in Limbo
The current wave of anti-regime protests in Iran come at an inopportune time for President Joe Biden, who desperately wants to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with the regime. His administration has already made a series of concessions to appease Tehran. Reversing President Donald Trump’s policy of Maximum Pressure of Iran, the Biden White House weakened the sanctions pressure on the regime.
To further sweeten the Obama-era nuke deal, the Biden White House officials even toyed with idea of removing the IRGC — Iranian regime’s foreign terrorist arm — from the U.S. terror list, news reports suggest.
Apart from murdering dissidents and anti-regime demonstrators at home, the IRGC funds, trains, and arms the deadliest jihadi and terrorist groups across the Muslim world, including Gaza-based Hamas, Palestrina Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Lebanese Hezbollah, and Yemen’s Ansar Allah Houthi militia.