US Supports Iranian Protests after Pushing Iran into Economic Crisis

Iranian Protests

The wave of Iranian protests that are a result of inefficient governmental policies, resulting in poor economic situations have emerged out once again. The protests have caused mass disruption and given rise to political instability in Iran.

The Iranian protests have swept across the nation, exposing vulnerabilities and shortcomings of the present government, indicating the fact that the citizens want a change of regime.

On Friday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decided to cut gasoline subsidies to fund handouts for Iran’s poor. The price of gas would rise to 15,000 rials per liter (12 US cents) from 10,000 for the first 60 liters, and to 30,000 rials for any extra fuel bought after that each month.

The announcement resulted in violence that broke out on Friday night in Sirjan, a city some 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Tehran and later spread to many other cities. Cutting off the subsidies led to an increment of 50 percent in gas prices.

The protesters tried to set fire to the oil depot, but were stopped by the police. Online videos circulating on Iranian social media purported to show a fire at the depot as sirens wailed in the background.

The data suggests that the violent clashes between the police and protestors left behind two deaths and dozens of arrests, including restrictions on internet access in the country on Saturday. The White House on Sunday condemned Iran’s use of force against the protestors in the latest unrest.  

The analysts have concluded that the violence occurred when armed men with guns and knives infiltrated the demonstration that led to a serious crisis in the region. The motorists blocked highways and others torched the public property.

Restoring calm has become one of the greatest challenges for the Iranian government.

In context of the Iranian protests, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “The US supports the Iranian people in their peaceful protests against the regime that is supposed to lead them.”

Iranian protests driven by poor economic conditions, ahead of February parliamentary elections, might become a political risk for the Iranian President. Scarcity of jobs and collapse of national currency has affected the lives of millions of people residing in Iran, many of whom resorted to protests following the government’s latest decision of cancelling the subsidies.  

Though Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, who is the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran in office since 1989, has expressed support for the increases in gas and fuel prices, the citizens are adamant in protesting. It’s controversial how the word of Ali Khamenei that was considered to be absolute in Iran earlier, is now ignored by the protestors.

To be precise, Iran’s economy suffered since the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and chose to impose additional sanctions on the country, following its failure to comply with the norms of the deal. Ironically, the lives of citizens of Iran have been most affected due to the downfall in the economy caused by the US-imposed sanctions on the country. And, now the US is trying to heal the wounds of Iranians’ by supporting their fight against the Rouhani government.

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