Iran’s largest display of public discontent since 2009 Green Movement with widespread protests. The cost of living in the country and the 40 percent youth unemployment rate are sending people to the streets.
What is Happening in Iran?
The protests first began last Thursday night in response to the country’s struggling economy, in addition to rising food and fuel prices as well as widespread corruption. That said, the protestors have more on their minds than the economy.
Experts say that the people of Iran are angry. They had expected an improvement in their lives when the heavy sanctions were lifted in 2015 once a deal was reached between their country and P5+1 with respect to its nuclear program. The P5+1 includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in addition to Germany.
Iranian Government Cautions Against Illegal Protests
Though the restrictions on the energy, financial and transportation sectors were lifted, there remain hundreds of different entities in Iran that still find themselves blacklisted. Moreover, the United States has indicated intentions to form new sanctions as a result of other violations, such as last summer’s rocket launch.
The National Iranian American Council president, Trita Parsi, and other experts state that ongoing corruption and mismanagement of the economy have left the country’s citizens disappointed.
The Iranian government’s policies have only exaggerated the inflation and unemployment rates. Furthermore, the economy is in need of solid international investment, said Parsi. “The nuclear deal is overwhelmingly supported by the Iranian public, but there was an expectation that much more economic development would come out of it,” she explained.
An Ongoing Problem
Iranians aren’t just reacting to the current situation. They have been experiencing years of economic, political and social struggles. That things have not improved as many of the sanctions have lifted, and as it looks as though the situation could worsen, people are reaching the end of their tether and are heading to the streets for anti-government protest.
“Economic sanctions have exacerbated all of those Iranian-origin economic problems,” said National Iranian American Council Research Director Reza Marashi, “I don’t think you can separate the economic from the political. The government has an opportunity and a responsibility to address legitimate grievances that are being expressed.”