Arrests made after protests over Iran’s weak economy

2 Jan 18

The Iranian police have arrested more than 450 protesters in Tehran amid anti-government demonstrations triggered by a weakened economy and corruption concerns.  

The economy in Iran has struggled recently with youth unemployment at 25% and inflation rising 10% last year. 

There had been hopes the country’s finances would improve following reforms and lifted international sanctions, as highlighted by Public Finance International in 2016.

Restrictions on financial, energy and transportation sectors were removed.

But Iranians are not happy with the recent rising costs of food and fuel, as well as the alleged corruption and economic mismanagement within the government.

The protests broke out Thursday night, with anger directed at the leadership that has been in power since the 1979 revolution, including supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the president Hassan Rouhani.

Government spokesperson Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said in a news conference: “People have the rights to protest but there is a difference between demonstration and riot.

“Even those who are confronting the rioters should act within the framework of law.”

On Monday, Rouhani called for unity as the death toll from the protests, the biggest in almost a decade since the unrest in 2009, was feared to exceed 20.

One member of the security forces has reportedly been killed.

The ILNA news agency said 200 people were arrested on Saturday, 150 on Sunday and about 100 people on Monday in the country’s capital.

Protestors also attacked police stations in other Iranian cities, news agency and social media reports said.  

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