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Protests spread to more parts of Iran on Friday, as ordinary Iranians demanded the government reintroduce subsidies on food that have seen prices rise since they started earlier this week. Observers also note that the protests have taken on a markedly more anti-regime tone in the past 48 hours.
Videos shared on social media show protesters shouting anti-regime slogans and attacking the offices of the feared paramilitary militia in two separate cases, Basij. Other images on The Foreign Desk’s website show a red vehicle purportedly spraying protesters with an unknown liquid, possibly tear gas.
Protesters, unafraid of retaliation from state security forces, shouted “Death to Khamenei! Death to Raisi!” hear yelling. referring to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who has pledged to create jobs, lift sanctions and save the economy.
PROTESTS IN IRAN SPREAD AROUND THE COUNTRY Amid RISING FOOD PRICES
Lisa Daftari, an expert on Iran and editor-in-chief of the news website The Foreign Desk, told Fox News Digital that protests have spread to even more of Iran’s 31 provinces, including Khuzestan, Lorestan, Kurdistan, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Hamedan, Sistan, Rasht, Azerbaijan, Chaharmahal Bakhtiari and Shahrekord and Ardabil.
Daftari stated: “Over the past decade, the Iranian people have done a great job as citizen journalists telling the world what the true condition of the Iranian people is and how wrong their regime is in the mainstream media. While the Biden administration, like the Obama administration, is covering up the facts about a brutal and repressive regime that is not interested in changing its ways, the people of Iran are suffering. They are telling us their true stories.”
The Associated Press, citing reports from the state-run Iranian news agency IRNA, said about 22 protesters had been arrested since last night. Iran’s UN mission in New York did not immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
EXPECT A NUCLEAR DOMINO EFFECT IN THE MIDDLE EAST IF IRAN GAINS WEAPONS
As protests continue, the Biden administration is still trying to get involved in the Iran Nuclear Deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). insist on a return to it. The deal was signed by President Obama in 2015 and President Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018.
In a week in which two European citizens were arrested on charges of spying in Iran, Reuters news agency reported Friday that a State Department official said the US appreciated the EU’s efforts to revive the deal. Negotiations have stalled in recent weeks.
Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), and an expert on Iran, told Fox News Digital that the protests were part of a larger anti-government trend.
“It would be another mistake to view these protests as isolated or purely economic. They are part of a growing trend of anti-regime protests that use social, economic and environmental issues to make claims about their desire for a responsible and representative government,” he said.
He said the government should take note of what is going on. “Just over a decade ago, some slogans chanted by Iranian protests over the death of the Supreme Leader or in favor of Iran’s erstwhile monarchical dynasty would have been taboo. Now they are commonplace. Washington cannot afford these transition,” he said.
Iran abruptly increased prices by as much as 300% on Thursday for a variety of commodities, such as cooking oil, chicken, eggs and milk. Dozens of alarmed Iranians waited in long lines to pick up bundles of food across the country and clear supermarket shelves in the hours before the price hike took effect.
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Although Iran produces about half of its own wheat, it imports much of the rest from Russia. The war has increased inflationary pressures.
The government is trying to act quickly to ease the pain. Authorities have promised to pay each Iranian citizen about $14 a month to offset the price hikes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.