Hundreds of people on Thursday took to the streets of Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, to protest against high prices and the dire economic situation, shouting slogans denouncing their government’s intervention in neighboring countries.
Videos posted online showed a crowd chanting “death to Rouhani” and “death to the dictator”, and police using water cannon to disperse it. Videos on social media also showed demonstrators chanting ”Leave Syria, think about us”, criticizing Iran’s military and financial support for Bashar al-Assad regime, Al-Hayat newspaper reported.
Mashhad governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying that “the demonstration was illegal but the police dealt with people with tolerance”.
Iran is one of the Assad regime’s staunchest allies. It has been sending troops to aid the Assad regime’s military campaigns against Syrian cities and towns and spending large sums of money to recruit militants from other countries to fight alongside Assad’s forces.
Many Iranians believe their country’s economic situation has not improved because of widespread corruption, economic mismanagement and the Iranian regime’s pursuing of policies that are aimed at expanding Iran’s influence in the region. Such policies have cost the country heavy economic losses and negatively affected the economic well-being of ordinary Iranians.
Unemployment stood at 12.4 percent in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, up 1.4 percent from the previous year. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)