Food protests in Iran triggered last week by a sudden hike in prices of essential goods were violently repressed with security forces using lethal force
A new wave of nationwide protests was triggered last week by a cut in state subsidies for imported wheat that caused price hikes of as much as 300% for a variety of flour-based staples.
The prices of essential goods including bread, milk, dairy products, eggs, poultry, and cooking oil have also risen sharply amid Iran’s 40-percent inflation rate.
The cities of Andimeshk, Dezful, Izeh, Droud, Shahrekord, Junqan, Yasuj, and Neishabour were among areas hit by protests over skyrocketing prices of food staples.
All sectors of Iranian society are being crushed under soaring inflation, rampant unemployment, meager wages, and widespread water shortages, as well as the Iranian regime’s repressive policies.
Speaking on May 9 on state television, Raisi pledged that the price of traditional bread, gasoline, and medicine would remain unchanged.
In order to compensate for the rise in prices, Raisi said direct payments equivalent to approximately $10 or $13 would be disbursed for two months for each family member of low-income households. Later, he said Iranians will be offered electronic coupons that would allow them to access a limited amount of subsidized bread.
Reports suggested that the price of cooking oil had almost quadrupled since Raisi’s announcement, while the price of eggs and chicken nearly doubled.
Lethal state violence against peaceful protests
Following the recent protests in Iran, the state security forces, and riot police were dispatched to restive cities to confront the protests.
Though the exact number of people detained during the food protests in Iran is not known, reports indicate that hundreds of protesters, including children, have been arrested. The detainees are in danger of maltreatment and torture.
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, at least 50 people have been arrested in the protests in Dorud, Lorestan, 15 in Dezful, Khuzestan, and seven in Yasuj, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.
Social media reports, eyewitness accounts, and videos from the protests indicate that the state security forces resorted to unlawful use of force, including birdshot, gunfire, and mass arrests, in their ongoing crackdown on peaceful protests in several cities, leaving dozens of people injured.
An Iranian official admitted the killing of a protester in the southwest.
Ahmad Avai told the state-run ILNA news agency one person had been killed during rallies in Dezful, a city in Khuzestan Province.
This is while at least five protesters have been identified as killed by security forces in recent food protests in Iran.
The slain protesters are:
Behrouz Eslami, the father to two little boys, was shot dead by security forces on May 14 during protests in the city of Babaheidar, in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, southwest Iran.
Sa’adat Hadipour was shot and killed by the state security forces on May 14 during the protests in Hafshejan, Chaharmahal, and Bakhtiari Province.
Pish-Ali Ghalebi Hajivandi was shot by security forces on May 13 when he stuck his head out of his house’s window to see the nearby protests in the city of Dezful, Khuzestan Province.
Omid Nouri, 21, was killed by security forces on May 12, in Andimeshk, Khuzestan Province.
Hamid Ghasempour was killed by security forces on May 12, in Faresan, southwest Iran.
In some Iranian cities, including Tehran, tight security measures are in place and a massive security presence is observed.
Security forces and anti-riot units are patrolling the streets ready to confront possible food protests in Iran.
Bloody state crackdown on food protests in Iran amid internet blackouts
Since the beginning of the protests, the Iranian regime has shut off or severely limited the internet in Khuzestan Province and the restive neighboring cities.
The regime has implemented an internet blackout to crush protesters without the world knowing. Similar measures were taken in November 2019 that led to the killing of 1,500 protesters.
Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks on Saturday reported a disruption lasting hours on Iran’s MobinNet. “The disruption is the latest in a series of telecoms cuts amid protests,” NetBlocks said on Twitter.
The Iranian regime has a documented history of using lethal force against peaceful protests while blocking internet access to prevent the world from seeing the brutal crackdown.
Call for immediate action by the international community
State-enforced internet outages, the heavy presence of security forces, using unlawful force against protesters, and mass arrests in recent days, have raised concerns about the regime’s deadly crackdowns such as those of previous years. The Iranian regime has a documented history of using lethal force to crush peaceful protests while cutting off internet access.
Iran Human Rights Monitor calls on all UN and international human rights organizations to condemn the Iranian regime for using lethal force against peaceful protests.
Iran HRM urges the UN and international human rights organizations to take urgent action to secure the release of the detained protesters.